Demand for Financial Education Increases

The demand for CFSFC financial education programs has been growing since we began working with youth in the Piedmont.

We have reached capacity and need additional resources (Volunteers & Funds) to continue financially educating youth in their schools at no cost.

 Number of Youths helped: 2013: 1,045; 2014: 1,121 2015: 2,713 2016: 3,482 2017: 3,400

financial education, financial literacy, budgeting, money, utilities, spend, future, college, youth, Ben Smith High School, Guilford County School District

Students from Ben Smith High School during Adult for A Day. (GCSD)

Youth workshops are designed to raise awareness of money, offer financial knowledge, recognize diverse attitudes around money, improve savings and budgeting skills and offer youth motivations to succeed in their future lives.

Financial education, financial literacy, money, Parkland Magnet School, Winston Salem Forsyth county Schools, planning

Their money habit is Planning. Parkland Magnet School (WSFCS)

Quality Programs make Learning Enjoyable

Workshops include our signature, Adult for A Day, Money Habitudes®, Good Credit Game®, FETCH®, and Going to College-Counting the Cost

 

 

Youth want to Save Money

financial education, banking, money, youth, financial literacy, spending, saving

 

Youth Learn the Basics of How Credit Works

credit, financial education, credit scores, financial literacy, youth

Adult for A Day and the Good Credit Game® help youth increase their understanding of the areas of life affected by credit and how saving money and paying bills on time are the most important things they can do to have a prosperous future.

Promoting Financial Education for all Youth

With an increasingly complex world, all youth from an early age need to understand how to save money, how to get money through education beyond high school and how to spend it wisely. These are the keys to “cultivating youth for a future of financial wellness.”

saving money, youth, financial education, Kernersville Elementary, Winston Salem Forsyth county schools, financial literacy, children, youth

Summer program through Winston Lakes YWCA-Kernersville Elementary

Contact CFSFC today to find out how you can support our youth! 

Donate Now

Invested in our Youth

The Center for Smart Financial Choices (CFSFC) has been committed to teaching youth about money and how it impacts their future. In 2014 through generous donations we incorporated a Financial Education Scholarship program that has aided over one hundred young adults on the road to a comfortable financial future.

In honor of our scholarship winners, CFSFC hosted a celebration on April 18, 2017 at the Enterprise Conference and Banquet Center. We are pleased to have had such an incredible turnout of over 100 children, parents, educators, college students and community partners who are dedicated to investing in our youth. Dr. Gwendolyn Johnson-Green, Director of WSFCSD Office of Alternative Education shared her feelings about the event when she said, “the guests and even our own Mayor and State Senator Paul Lowe were inspired by the real world Financial Literacy activities we participated in. The interaction with persons from all walks of life is always a treat.  We had a true representation of our community, all genders, ethnicities, and nationalities.”

There were so many highlights throughout the evening starting with our wonderful volunteers that showed up ready to teach money concepts at the various life stations we set up throughout the room. Every attendee was given an opportunity to participate in an interactive demonstration of being an “Adult for A Day” by visiting a variety of budget stations hosted by local businesses. A big thank you also goes to our many generous sponsors, like Donna Jones State Farm Insurance, Piedmont Natural Gas, Duke Power and Carolina’s Credit Union League. Continuing our scholarship program would not have been possible without their monetary donations, as well as, their friendly faces working the various stations.

Mayor Allen Joines graciously volunteered to be our scholarship certificate presenter. He arrived early to meet each candidate and learn about each one of them before the presentation. We all enjoyed showing him our budget stations, and our attendees truly enjoyed having the opportunity to meet him in person. Our scholarship winners were so grateful to have had him there to honor them as each happily posed for a ‘Kodak moment” while their parents and loved ones cheered them on!

Each year we meet an incredible number of teens and young adults who are striving to improve their lives by pursuing additional education. Their intelligence, perseverance and volunteerism truly makes us all proud to meet them. This year was no different, except that the four scholarships winners were all young women with a variety of strengths. The two youth scholarship winners, Anali Jacinto from Mount Tabor High School and Maria Valentina Roa from Davie High School boasted impressive GPA’s as well as a strong volunteer spirit. Our two young adult winners Elizabeth Vega-Orozco, current student at North Carolina A & T State University and Marianne Cruzat a student at UNC Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School are both in their final year of college.

Anali Jacinto plans to be the first in her family to attend college, pursuing a career in a math and science field at Randolph College. As a member of JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps) for the past three years, she has also had the opportunity to give back to the community through a variety of service projects. Through attending the required financial education classes, she learned that “going to college is a big investment that costs a lot of money and if it is not researched sufficiently and planned for, a person can easily get into a lot of debt.” Congratulations to Anali Jacinto as the recipient of the Mel Hughes Youth Scholarship Award!

Maria Valentina Roa will be the first in her immediate family to attend college in the United States.  She is excited to pursue a career in dentistry. Maria showed great interest and enthusiasm at each financial education class. The selection committee was especially impressed by her academic performance in the multiple honors and advanced placement classes she has taken over the years. Additionally, she has shown great character by her long-term volunteerism at Novant Hospital, her church, various camps, and the Ronald McDonald House.  In response to the classes, Maria says: “I have now talked to my mom about her credit score, looked at and understand the different types of financial aid loans offered to me, and I’ve made sure my major is one that will be a positive investment for my future.” Please join me in congratulating Maria Valentina Roa as one of our $1,000 Youth Scholarship Winners!

Elizabeth Vega-Orozco, winner of the Hispanic/Latino Scholarship Award in the amount of $2,000 is one year away from graduating with a degree in Chemical Engineering. The selection committee was particularly impressed by her grit and perseverance in balancing very difficult coursework while raising a three-year-old son and remaining in the top 10% of her class. She is a member of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and has also volunteered with the Hispanic League and with the Annual Latinas Educating on Aids Awareness and Prevention Gala. She states that the education she received through the scholarship classes will “allow her to budget effectively in her final year of college to avoid further education debt and help her acquire assets as she becomes more financially stable.” CFSFC has no doubt that its investment in her education will bring wonderful returns on a variety of levels.

Marianne Cruzat, winner of the $2,000 Adult Scholarship, is diligent and committed to graduating from school debt-free. A current business student at UNC Chapel Hill, she was recently one of fifty students admitted to the Kenan-Flagler Business School and plans to spend the next year studying business abroad in Asia and Europe as a GLOBE Program Scholar. Since connecting with CFSFC last year during the scholarship competition, she has been faithful to stay in touch, volunteer when able, and serve as an advocate for financial education. Marianne, “wants to give back to the community and teach other students to be financially literate. She strongly recommends learning more about CFSFC and its incredible programs”. CFSFC is very excited to support her in the final years of her education and know that she will make great waves in the business world someday!  

Lisa Nakawatase, an educator for 15 years, currently at Forsyth Middle College and our guest speaker summed up the evening when she said, “this was one amazing event and I am beyond honored to have been involved!  Thank you all for your dedication and hard work to always make education BETTER!  I am extremely blessed to know and work alongside such passionate and incredible people!”

Fund our Scholarships

Investing in our Youth

Teens today face a multitude of challenges to reach adulthood including academic worries, depression, bullying, drugs and alcohol.  Despite those challenges, we are making headway in “cultivating youth for a future of financial wellness”.


Will I be able to save enough money?

The Center for Smart Financial Choices (CFSFC) shared knowledge on the role of additional education in improving the future prospects of over 3,400 youth in 2016. Each youth began building a framework of financial competency that will enable them to look forward to a stable life. The demand for financial education continues unabated and CFSFC is the only non-profit doing this work with youth.

We offered 163 workshops at 41 different locations in Forsyth, Stokes and Guilford counties. This would not have been possible without the help of 99 volunteers who donated 635 hours.

How will credit affect my future?

 

Volunteer Today!

 

 

 


What Teens Learned in 2016

CFSFC asked over 2,300 high school students to complete an evaluation of their learning while participating in the “Adult for A Day” budget and credit workshop. The average student was 16 years old, 49% were female and 51% were male.

Students were asked about their future plans and if they have spoken to their parents. Most students have talked about their college plans with their parents, although their expectations about how college will be paid for are unconfirmed. 

What changes will teens make in their financial habits?

  • 42% agreed to Track Expenses for One Week 
  •  58% will Change One Habit To Save Money 
  • 42%  Plan to Open A Savings Account   
  • 48% will consider more Classes to Make Good  Financial Choices

 


Financial Education Addresses the Future

Teaching children about money- how to manage it, save it and spend it wisely – is essential to making sure they are prepared for the financial world.
Teens were asked where they got their financial advice from and 86% percent reported they learned from their families. 

George Washington University economics professor Annamaria Lusardi has done pioneering research on financial literacy. Her studies have documented the gaps in financial knowledge among different demographic groups. “What the data on financial literacy shows is that financial knowledge is unequally distributed,” says Lusardi. “Those with the least knowledge are also the most vulnerable groups in economic terms.

Lusardi directs the Global Finance Literacy Excellence Center that focuses on raising the level of financial knowledge through financial-literacy education. “Finance has entered the lives of every family in a much more significant way than in the past. We now have a lot more responsibility for managing our money. Everyone needs to know the ABCs of finance,” notes Lusardi.


Join us in Investing in our Youth

We ask teens what other knowledge they need for a successful future and they told us:

  • Need help opening a savings or checking account
  • Information about different career choices
  • Help in getting a job now
  • Help applying for scholarships and grants
  • Strategies for spending less & saving more money

Here are a few lessons learned as shared by youth:

  • I have started tracking the amount of money I spend, and based on this, I change my bad habits of wasting money on unnecessary things.
  •  I have learned how to keep a proper budget so I have saved a lot more money. I also set up a checking and savings account after learning about them.
  • Well I’m not more willing to just spend money on whatever I want. I have to stop and ask myself do I really need this / want this and then I chose if I purchase the item or not. I have saved more and begun working towards saving for college.
  • The Center for Smart Financial Choices made me more aware of my options on how to pay for college and save up to pursue other goals of mine such as studying abroad. I am more aware of the importance of saving my money and look forward to it because I know that I am making an investment in my life!

On April 18, 2017, we will hold the Second Annual Day of Giving Event highlighting the value of investing in the financial education of our youth.

 Register now

 

Can we count on your financial support in helping our youth build better financial futures for themselves?

Donate Today!

What will you achieve in 2017?

reynolds-princessWorldwide uncertainty for the future, deaths, births, tragedies and joys abound in the news for 2016.

What does the future hold for you? Will you spend some time looking back or will you strive to look forward with hope?

We recently concluded a five-week series of classes with over 40 high school students remanded to in-school suspension. Each week we featured a different topic to open their eyes to the need for change in their lives. In order to see what their desires and hopes were for the future, we asked them to define their idea of success. A simple worksheet contained a list of 24 items they could choose from. Although we asked them to pick their top three, many teens asked if they could check more.

Having goals, making money, enjoying life, being educated and happiness were their top five goals. One young man summed up his definition of success as “when you are happy with how you are living“. Many of the teens also recognized the need to set goals. What does success mean to you?

Define your success

Every year we make resolutions and most of the time we don’t keep them. Some set a big overreaching goal with no steps along the way.  A few set goals because of what others think they should do, “you should make more money, get more schooling or change jobs”. And many make resolutions that don’t tie into their values or the success they want to achieve.

While there is no magic pill for success, there is a practical model you can follow. We use   S. M. A. R. T. goals. Research indicates that a goal written down is more likely to be obtained. We are also creatures of habit, setting a plan and sticking to it includes making it easy for yourself to accomplish.

Think of saving money as a goal and let’s make it S. M. A. R. T.smart-goals

  • I want to save $100/month over the next six months to apply for a secured credit card to rebuild my credit.
  • I will have $50 taken out of my paycheck on a bi-weekly basis and deposited into my savings account.
  • When I reach my target goal of $600 I will apply for the secured credit card at my local credit union.
  • I will charge one tank of gas each month and pay the balance in full each month.
  • I will also review my credit report for free at Annual Credit Report
  • I will use the tools at Power Pay to  develop a personalized, self-directed debt elimination plan. Powerpay

 

CFSFC offers life advice and encouragement “to empower all individuals to achieve financial wellness through all stages of life”. Sign up for an Individual Financial Wellness Check-up

What will you seek to achieve in 2017? Know you can accomplish anything if it fits with your values and goals!

“Success is not a destination, but the road that you’re on. Being successful means that you’re working hard and walking your walk every day. You can only live your dream by working hard towards it. That’s living your dream”.Marlon Wayans

Tell us your goals for 2017.

 

 

 

 

SAVE YOUR REFUND

Save your refundAmericans to win big again in 2016 by putting part of tax refunds directly into Savings

Taxpayers across America once again will have a chance to win cash prizes just by saving a portion of their tax refund through the Save Your Refund campaign, thanks to a new partnership between the Doorways To Dreams Fund (D2D) and America Saves, an initiative of the Consumer Federation of America.

The Save Your Refund campaign creates fun and exciting incentives for Americans to save at tax time, when households making less than $50,000 claim $100 billion in federal tax refunds. For many individuals and families, that tax refund is the largest check that they will receive all year. A chance to win a $25,000 grand prize or one of 100 smaller weekly prizes has proven to be enough to turn saving skeptics into savings winners.

The new partnership ensures the program will be able to have an even greater reach in 2016. America Saves will promote the program to an extensive network of volunteer income tax assistance (vita) sites, where taxpayers can learn about the savings prizes and get free help filing returns. Assistance and information will also be available through other VITA, volunteer, and community offices.

Save Your Refund changes lives for the better, by letting people see for themselves that saving, even in small amounts, is possible and that they can take a positive step for their future,” said Tim Flacked, D2D Executive Director. “We’re excited to work closely with America Saves to bring fun and prizes to tax time in 2016.”

Some 6,000 people saved more than $5 million through Save Your Refund so far.

More than half of all Americans have no savings to help them cope with even small emergencies. Yet more than 100 million taxpayers get refunds from the IRS each year.

“Our partners across the country hear every day from people who know they need to save and think they have no way to even get started,” said Nancy Register, America Saves Director. “We’re pleased to work with D2D this coming tax season to show people it’s easy to start saving. The best time for many to start saving is at tax refund time, and a great way for people to take that financial action is with the potential for a prize.”

The winner of the 2015 grand prize was living with her family of five in a single motel room when volunteer tax preparers in Lakeland, FL, told her about Save Your Refund. Mary Bunch said the possible prize motivated her, and the volunteers and the Save Your Refund program enabled her, to start a new habit of savings.

“It’s not about the amount of money that you save or that you have in the bank,” Bunch said. “It’s just knowing that it’s there. There used to be such a pressure on my chestSaving gives me back my quality of life.”

For information on how to save and enter Save Your Refund contests or to support Save Your Refund efforts across the United States, visit www.saveyourrefund.com. More about America Saves and its mission to motivate, encourage, and support low- to moderate-income households to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth is available at www.americasaves.org.

Scholarship Applicants Raise Their Financial IQ

One of the requirements in competing for the 2015 Johnston Financial Education scholarship was for applicants to attend two financial education classes.  This year, thirty-three individuals applied for one of three scholarships. Twenty-nine individuals, six (6) adults; nine (9) Hispanic/Latinos; and fifteen (15) youth completed all requirements.

Many of the applicants faced obstacles in attempting to go to college or paying to finish their schooling. Several faced legal barriers to financial aid and almost all of the applicants work part-time or at multiple jobs to finance their education.  Yet this is a goal for all of them as they echo what Paula said ‘Going to college is just the door step to where I see myself in the future. College will prepare me with knowledge, experiences, and skills … I believe I know what comes first in my life, and college is definitely one of them’.

The first class, ‘Going to College-Counting the Cost’ revealed the true cost of college and tips that all individuals can use to reduce their reliance on student loans. This class was featured on Time Warner Cable Channel 14 Money Matters in April. http://www.twcnews.com/stories/2015/04/28/m/money-matters-paying-for-college.html

Two other classes, ‘Finding Money for Free’ and ‘Money Habitudes®’ gave applicants ideas on how to keep better track of their money and helped them developed a better understanding of their habits and attitudes around money.  All the participants gained a solid financial foundation to guide them as they move forward in life.

College1a

Jessica said, ‘to help avoid unnecessary debt … I am going to make a plan to see what I spend my money on. After that I will begin writing down if I NEED the item or if I WANT it. Being that I am a spontaneous shopper, (thank you money habitudes!) I think coming up with this plan will help me cut down on all the things I don’t need to buy right at the moment.’

Greicy shared the confidence she and the other students will need in facing their future when she said, ‘I am confident that I can exhibit the restraint and the discipline required to commit to my budget and avoid falling into unnecessary debt in college. These positive habits will not only alleviate financial matters, but will also help me build the confidence and character necessary to become a fiscally responsible and independent adult.’College4

Miah summed up their learning experience when she stated, ‘College is a time to learn, discover, find myself and create new paths. One thing I will work to not discover, find or create is unnecessary debt because I want total control in my choices, life and future…I am thankful for learning that from classes at the Center for Smart Financial Choices.’

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OF YOU & MAY YOUR FUTURE BE EVERYTHING YOU BELIEVE IT CAN BE!

How to Get to Where You Want to Go-through Financial Planning

neon_light-financial planning

 

How to Get to Where You Want to Go-through Financial Planning

Where are you in your financial life cycle? Learn the steps leading to the creation of your very own financial plan. This interactive session will assist you to make decisions based on your personal values and goals.  Special emphasis will be given to applying these steps to your small business.

 

 

 

 

Improve your Credit Score-FOR FREE

being in control of your finances        Improve your Credit Score for free

 What does your credit score really mean? Your credit rating  influences home loans, auto loans, credit cards, insurance, and  other important financial concerns over the course of your life.

This course aids you in reading your own personal credit report  and includes ways you can improve your credit score without  cost.

 

 

 

 

Find Money for Free-Money Management

faucet leakingFind Money for Free-Money Management

Money has the tendency to leak out of our wallets unless you plug the leaks. Find out what your leaks are and how to establish a personal spending plan to keep more money in your wallet. This course will assist you to set goals to achieve financial wellness.

 

CLASS REQUIRED FOR ADULT SCHOLARSHIP APPLICANTS!

 

 

2014 Highlights

The goal of the Center for Smart Financial Choices for 2014 was to raise awareness of their programs and services to Forsyth County residents. We would like to share the progress that was made this year and the impact it had on participants.

Youth Programs

The Center delivered thirty-four presentations to over 1,121 youth in local elementary, high school and summer programs in 2014. The most popular program ‘Adult for A  Day (#AFAD)’ helps high school students explore the importance of making smart financial choices in managing a budget while learning how credit scores affect their expenses. Over one hundred Vienna Dozier Elementary fifth grade students participated in the elementary version of AFAD to learn how a budget works.

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Comments from teen students on #AFAD

“The Center for Smart Financial Choices program taught me a lot about the money saving decisions that our parents and other adults have to make every day. It also showed me that a lot of the decisions that have to be made are not easy. I learned that what type of insurance, the cost of utilities, clothes, and your home is very important. I also learned about all the responsibilities that adults have to have to be successful. This program will help me become a better adult and be more aware of my responsibilities” Cameron

Reagan AFAD

Understanding your paycheck

 “I participated in the “Adult for a day” program at my school. It was very beneficial in teaching me the many expenses that come with being an adult. It made me start to think about what I should do to prepare myself, like watching what I spend and how I save. This program was very encouraging and I would recommend it to anyone” –Avery

Comments from elementary students on #AFAD

Vienna14

Focus on Saving

 

“Thank you for helping and teaching me all about how to grow up and become a responsible adult with money.  Also, I loved the presentation and stations I went to. In my family I have some relatives who aren’t really good with money, so I’ll go home and teach them all about what you taught me” – Andrew (5th Grader)

“Thank you for coming to Vienna to teach us how to manage our money. I now know why my parents won’t buy me some stuff I want. I appreciate all that my parents do now I also now realize how hard it is to handle money” –Hallie (5th Grader)

 

Adult Presentations

The Center worked with many non-profits groups this year, including Goodwill, Circles of Winston Salem, Relatives as Professional Parents (RAPP), Sunnyside Ministries, Project 360 and the Enterprise Center. Forty-four workshops were held with over 520 individuals reached.

                                                                                                                                                                           ‘Only Way to Go’

OWG

Certificate of Financial Competency

 

The Center completed a series of workshops titled ‘Only Way to Go’ at the Prosperity Center North, which served over eighty individuals. The program successfully combined work readiness, financial education, empowerment and motivation skills for the participants.

“This course showed me there were lots of places I needed to improve. I thought I had it together until I found out how many spending leaks I had. I found I was wasting money eating out even though I love to cook. At the time I took the ‘Only Way to Go’ program, I was homeless, a situation I had never been in before.  I found a job during the time I was taking the course, as a Certified Nursing Assistant and I am still employed seven months later. I also recently moved into my own new apartment.

I would recommend this course to others because they don’t realize how much it would help them if they would only pay attention and participate.” –Nancy

Volunteers

Vol4

 

The Center depends on its volunteers to assist in delivering its programs. Volunteers logged over 1,500 hours supporting the Center in 2014. Currently, the Center has over forty volunteers and more are needed to work with school children and teens during the day.

 

 

 

Ways to Support the Center for Smart Financial Choices

Join the Center as a member– your membership helps support our programs.  And you receive one free financial consultation when you join! Annual membership fee of: $15 for senior citizens, $20 for individuals or $30 for the entire family. http://www.cfsfc.org/membership/

Donate- The Center provides its programs free to all youth in their schools, at churches and in the community.iVol1

 Your donation of $25=provides snacks for 30 teens; $50=funds incentives; $100= provides educational materials for a class

Or donate $10-$1,000 to fund the Johnston Financial Education 2015 Scholarship. http://www.cfsfc.org/donate/

 Volunteer- When we help others by volunteering our time and we see their appreciative response we feel better about ourselves.  http://www.cfsfc.org/volunteer/