Support the “Champion Youth Financial Futures” Silent Auction
November 16, 2017 6:00-9:00 Maple Chase Country Club
Have you dreamed of going to a Broadway show, listening to Jazz in New Orleans famed Preservation Hall of Jazz?
Or maybe you like golf, in Arizona or Pinehurst? Are upper level ticket to the ACC Tournament Championship your dream?
These items and many local offerings are part of the auction to raise funds for youth financial education.
They all have dreams of college and a secure future.
- Tyriq worked hard to get great grades to be able to make his single mom proud by completing his college education.
- Sarah dreamed of setting a good example for her young daughter by getting a college degree while working full time.
- Bibiana wanted to prove to the world she can accomplish her dreams despite being an undocumented student from a family of seven who are unable to assist her in paying for her education.
Each of these young people had a dream that they shared with the Center for Smart Financial Choices (CFSFC). They set goals for themselves including becoming financially competent, so they could make good life choices. All their dreams have been realized through the support of CFSFC.
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
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.
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
Youth Learn the Basics of How Credit Works
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.”
Contact CFSFC today to find out how you can support our youth!
When the Center for Smart Financial Choices (CFSFC) presents workshops, we avoid telling youth we teach financial education or literacy, words that may make eyes glaze or elicit a negative reaction. Its’ not that we don’t want them to know or understand what we do, however, we have made a conscious choice to give them a quality experience while making their learning fun. Instead we tell them, we teach youth about money; how to get it, how to save it and how to spend it wisely. This approach makes them curious about what’s next.
This summer CFSFC had a different audience for our financial education workshops, children ages 5-10 years old. This required a different approach, especially when you are talking about education beyond high school, paychecks and things you need to pay for to set up a household. We needed to simplify but not to the point of boredom. Our goal was to share knowledge in a fun way.
Younger children love to share, so we began the “Adult for a Day” workshop with questions that required them to raise their hand, such as “who likes money; do you want to have fun; and who wants to be an adult today.” When asked, “do you want to have fun?” everyone raised their hand. However, when asked, “who likes to learn?” there were fewer hands. We had to keep to our promise to make the learning fun.
Each child was paired with someone older, even if only a year, to make a team of two. All members of the team had a role, the older was the bookkeeper and was responsible to keep track and write down how much money they spent, and the younger was the banker that paid for their choices. After a few hiccups, with some of the children telling the adults to keep the change from their $500 bill and confusion about how much to pay, the game got rolling. One young lady of about nine was paired with a little guy of five, she was a good team leader who asked his opinion on choices and let him make decisions. Volunteers are crucial in responding positively to the children’s questions and helping them make choices in setting up their household.
“Adult for a Day” requires each team to spend their monthly net salary from a preassigned career in order to set up their first household. This requires teams to move around the room and visit different budget stations to make choices for their housing, utilities, transportation and recreation. Most of the teams decided they would live at home (lowest cost) although eating out was big on their spending list.
One team came to the Grocery station and admitted that they had no money left for food. They had spent money on a new car and put the maximum in savings despite having a very low income as a Security Guard. We encouraged them to save only for emergencies and to purchase a used car instead. They were relieved to have money for food and $30 left over for spending at the end of the month. When offering advice to another team, I recommended they take the cheap choices. A minute later the kindergarten team member came up and asked, “what does cheap mean?” After a simple explanation, he continued the game. No one ran out of money and for the most part the children were very frugal.
One of the stations is “Life Events” and we use a familiar cartoon character, Charlie Brown, to emphasize what kind of things can happen to kids, from losing a ball game, to not doing well in school or having friends who like to play tricks on them. They are given a choice of cards and need to select one card that might earn or cost them money ($100-200). We selected scenarios children would be familiar with such as not doing homework (-$100); doing their chores (+$100): not eating their vegetables (-$100) or telling someone they loved them (+$200 . This introduced them to the concept of consequences for choices and lead to laughter or groans.
Once teams visited each station, they were encouraged to add up all the money they spent to see how much they had left. Volunteers helped with the math and most teams were eager to do the calculating. A few of the children shared what they learned from the workshop with comments like, “being an adult is hard work”; “you shouldn’t spend too much money”; and one boy told his dad, “buy only the things you really need and don’t buy crap.”
You can see by all the smiles, all 570 of them this summer, we accomplished our goal of making learning fun!
To make learning about financial education fun, you may want to incorporate the following suggestions:
- Keep it simple- use questions to keep youth engaged
- Give them a role to play and keep them moving
- Pair them up with someone younger or someone they don’t know
- Use volunteers of different ages and backgrounds to assist and model being an adult
- Offer choices within the game or presentation
- Present something surprising whether it be a choice, like Life Happens or a consequence
- Expect the unexpected and have fun!
We encourage you to take part in teaching youth about money by volunteering your time or making a personal donation.
Summer is here again!
The children have been waiting for the time when they are free from school, finished all their tests and can sleep late. But wait, we as parents and educators don’t want them to sleep their summer away or stay indoors tied to electronics.
We want them to have experiences, get outside and of course keep their brains active. This is especially true for middle school youth ages 11-14 who are not old enough to find a paying job and too old to stay at home with a sitter. Youth can lose precious math and reading skills over the summer.
Three of the most important things you can do to help youth:
- Encourage reading all summer long-Libraries are free and plentiful.
- Promote creativity and imagination- Kids.gov offers free activities Art & Music
- Keep youth moving and eating healthy.
- Forsyth County EFNEP helps families improve their diet and lifestyle in fun and healthy ways. Offer free classes, participants taste delicious recipes, improve cooking skills, and increase their knowledge on how to save money on groceries. Learn to Cook & Shop Wisely
- PBS Parents has a website full of free ideas to keep children moving. Sports & Fitness
Many youth participate in summer program through the YMCA, city Parks and Recreation and specialty art, dance or sports camps. Check out what is available for your children.
CFSFC is collaborating with several summer programs to help youth keep their reading, writing and math skills alive through fun money workshops. Over 600 youth will participate in one of our workshops this summer. Volunteers are needed to support youth learning valuable skills for the future.
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!”
What does this mean?
Why is it important to you and your family?
Financial Literacy is the ability to understand how money works in the world: how someone manages to earn or make it, how that person manages it, how he/she invests it (turns it into more) and how that person donates it to help others.
The keys to managing your money include:
Pay yourself first.
- Before you spend one dollar on rent/mortgage, car payment, credit cards or any other bill, set aside $10 out of every $100 or ten percent of your take home pay.
- Make savings automatic by setting up direct deposits.
Build an emergency savings fund.
- Experts agree that three to six months of your monthly living expenses is the ideal. However, for most people that is not possible but almost anyone can manage to set aside $200-$500.
Reduce your spending leaks.
- Many of us spend money on things that are not necessary to life. Think of stopping for coffee, sweet tea or soda and of course fast food. If you reduce some of those items, you can put money you are already spending into your emergency fund. Spending Leaks Worksheet
Talking about money with your family
It is vital that families begin talking about money while children are young to help them be ready for the challenges they will face as adults. Make it simple and age appropriate. Pointers for Parents at Every Stage
- Make the concept of money real by showing youth how much things cost like your electric or cable bill.
- Show them an ATM machine and explain how you have to put money into your account from working so you can have cash when you need it. Bring them inside your financial institution for a tour and to take some of the mystery out of what happens there.
- Use going to the grocery or retail store as way to show them how much things cost, to compare prices and when older, what discounts and clearance items are all about.
- Involve your children in budgeting by planning a family activity that will require them to give up something like a trip to McDonalds or the movies to save for an activity that will leave a memory.
Increasing your own financial knowledge
At the Center for Smart Financial Choices (CFSFC) we help individuals find out what their habits and attitudes are towards money and the things they value most in life. Then, we guide them to accomplish the goals they desire and fulfill our vision of “Helping people build assets leading to a comfortable financial future for them and their family.” We offer this assistance to adults through a Financial Wellness Checkup.
Celebrate Financial Literacy Month by “Investing in our Youth”
on April 18, 2017.
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”.
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.
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.
Can we count on your financial support in helping our youth build better financial futures for themselves?
Participants in the Financial Education Scholarship Program share their success stories
Sarah Williams is not your traditional college student. When we first met, she was working full-time, a mother and wife. Sarah attended Forsyth Community College Online. She now works for a local financial institution preparing commercial loan packages. Sarah was the winner of the first Adult Financial Education Scholarship offered through the Center for Smart Financial Choices (CFSFC) in 2014.
Sarah shared the story of her resolve to graduate from college despite overcoming serious health issues. By the time, she was entering her late 20’s, she wondered if she would still be able to go to college. Sarah said, “I put some serious thought into this and decided that not only did I want to set a good example for my daughter but I wanted my degree and to show myself that I could accomplish all my goals. If I never tried to get my degree because of cancer than I would be letting cancer win. It may not take my life but it would have taken my dreams. This was not option”. Sarah made college happen and graduated in May 2016.
Her daughter saw how hard she worked and that it wasn’t easy. She has been making straight A’s and the family is considering the Early College of Forsyth program for her. Her daughter is excited about this opportunity and hopes to be accepted. Sarah shared, “I know that my dedication to my studies set a good example for her and that makes me feel great!” Sarah is so thankful for the scholarship she received from CFSFC and how it helped her achieve her dream of getting a college education.
Greetings from UNC Charlotte! My name is Tyriq Evans, and I am a Sophomore Mathematics Major, planning to Minor in Secondary Education. I graduated from East Forsyth High School. I was one of the 2015 Financial Education Scholarship winners through the Center for Smart Financial Choices (CFSFC).
I have been involved in several on-campus activities since I began life here in the fall of 2015:”Pride of Niner Nation” Marching Band; University Honors Program and Building Better Brothers (B3) a program primarily for minority males. Mentoring is our main activity. We also engage in social activities and have rap sessions to discuss relevant topics concerning the community and world around us.
My most memorable experience so far has been attending the LeaderShape® Institute with UNC Charlotte. LeaderShape® is a weeklong immersion program where individuals develop their leadership skills, while working to shape their visions for their future.
Although I haven’t traveled outside of the United States yet, I plan to go to London, England this year with the Multicultural Academic Services. I will receive academic credit and take time to visit the famous attractions of England.
Thanks to CFSFC, I have been able to budget in several aspects of my college life. Renting my textbooks has saved me money which is allocated towards my tuition. Also, I tutor other students in Calculus. Tutoring has given me experience for my major and some extra change for my pocket. I am forever grateful for the Center for Smart Financial Choices for their support during my journey through college!
My name is Marianne Cruzat and I am a sophomore at UNC Chapel Hill majoring in business administration and minoring in entrepreneurship and urban planning. I participated in the 2016 Financial Education Scholarship program through the Center for Smart Financial Choices (CFSFC).
At Chapel Hill, I am treasurer for the Filipino American Student Association. I am working to get Innovation Ambassadors running, a program that will foster interdisciplinary innovation and allow students to innovate and start their own startups. Besides the entrepreneurship programs that I’m a part of, I am also interning at Groundwork Labs, a 3-month program that helps accelerate pre-seed startups toward their next goal.
Since I am hungry to immerse myself in other cultures and experience the rest of the world, I applied to Kenan-Flagler Business School’s prestigious GLOBE program. Fortunately, I was accepted and next year, I will be spending my entire junior year abroad! I will be in Copenhagen in the fall and Hong Kong in the spring and will be traveling to many other foreign cities in between to learn more about business and the world.
In my free time, I try to give back to my community by volunteering at places such as Center for Smart Financial Choices (CFSFC) and working with my former high school (Early College of Forsyth) to better prepare students for college. I also love to take photographs of people and landscapes around me.
So far, my most memorable experience in college was when I studied abroad this past summer. I was fortunate enough to travel to Southeast Asia and visit Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. I was able to immerse myself in the culture and learn about the globalization of Chinese food through the Chinese diaspora. As cliche as it sounds, this experience truly changed my life.
I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to work with CFSFC not only because I have the wonderful opportunity to give back but it also taught me a lot about my own finances! I’m able to transfer what I’ve learned to my own life, including finding funding and saving up for my study abroad programs and college in general.
Sign up for this great opportunity today! 2017 Scholarship Program
The future promise of any nation can be directly measured by the present prospects of its youth.
President John F. Kennedy acknowledged that the present prospects of our youth will affect the future. How are we doing in this area? Youth unemployment is very high for those 16-24 without advanced education. Millions of youth are unable to find full-time opportunities that match their skills, or use their formal job training or education. All of this comes at great cost to the future with college graduates holding a diploma and an enormous financial burden of credit card and student loan debt.
One key to building a strong future for youth is increasing their financial capabilities. The economic system of the world today requires youth to be taught how to handle money at home and in school. Organizations like the Center for Smart Financial Choices, Junior Achievement, NC Jump$tart, banks and credit unions work to help youth through financial literacy initiatives.
One of our scholarship participants Miah shared what she wants for her future, “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.”
Help Miah and other youth like her succeed by contributing to our #GivingTuesday campaign.
CFSFC helps start youth on the path to financial competency by introducing and expanding on the basic concepts of: Earn, Spend, Save/Invest, Borrow and Protect. Our workshops offer this education beginning at age ten and continue through college. We help prepare high school seniors for the cost of going to college through our Financial Education Scholarship Program.
To “cultivate our youth for a future of financial wellness” requires all of us to strive to share positive personal finance knowledge before they move to full adulthood. This is a crucial life skill that will ensure a comfortable financial future for all youth.