April is Financial Literacy month – a nationally recognized month dedicated to raising public awareness of the importance of financial literacy and maintaining smart money management habits.
“It is important to ensure that our students at all levels are learning financial literacy skills,” says Willie Buford, associate director of YouthQuest for Flint & Genesee Education & Talent. “That is why we start with our YouthQuest students to ensure these lessons start at a young age.”
One way YouthQuest implements financial literacy lessons in its program is by using YQ Bucks. Students at each site can earn YQ Bucks for a variety of reasons such as completing homework or positive behavior. YQ Bucks are then able to be used at YouthQuest stores run by the Youth Advisory Council (YAC) Club where students can get things like stickers, small toys, or treats. With this program, students can choose to spend their YQ Bucks on small items or save for bigger items, which helps teach them the power of saving.
Through the YQ Biz program, students cover lessons in financial literacy when learning about how to build and run a business. Although the lessons relate directly to business profits and expenses, the skills are transferable to students’ own financial knowledge.
Moving forward, lessons in financial literacy are carried through to other Flint & Genesee Education & Talent Programs. In TeenQuest, students are exposed to financial literacy in lessons that relate to opening a bank account and receiving their first paycheck.
“We want to make sure that if we are teaching students how to get a job, we are also teaching them how to be responsible with the money they earn,” says James Avery, director of talent development at Flint & Genesee Education & Talent. “We are preparing students for their first job experience and financial literacy is an important component in that.”
After TeenQuest, students are eligible to interview with local employers for the Summer Youth Initiative program where they can earn both experience and a paycheck.
The final program in the Flint & Genesee Education & Talent continuum Flint Promise caps off the organization’s support as it relates to financial literacy. Not only does the Flint Promise Scholarship Program help alleviate the burden of paying for school, but each Flint Promise scholar is also matched with a Success Coach who is available to help students navigate the higher education landscape.
Through their assistance, Flint Promise Success Coaches work with students to help guide them on how to spend money responsibly on textbooks and other school supplies they need. They also will help connect students with community resources if they discover a student has a need outside of their expertise.
Flint & Genesee Education & Talent aims to ensure that students of today are prepared for tomorrow’s workforce and reinforcing financial literacy throughout its programs is just one step in which to do so.
YouthQuest is made possible through the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and 21st Century Community Learning Centers.
TeenQuest and Summer Youth Initiative are made possible through the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.
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