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Value of a dollar is a lesson Value of a dollar is a lesson learned

by Amy Rosenberg
Special to The New Tri-State Defender

In a classroom filled with wide-eyed teenagers, it was evident that Patrice Huff’s dollars-and-cents discussion was an attention-grabber. A personal banker with Wells Fargo, Huff was delivering an important lesson about fiscal responsibility as part of the new “Teaching Children to Save” initiative.

 Wells Fargo personal banker Patrice Huff assists senior Northeast Prep Academy student Jasmine Wallace with a “Teaching Children to Save” budget worksheet. (Courtesy photo)

The national campaign was recently rolled out in Memphis through a partnership between Wells Fargo and the RISE Foundation. Its goal is to help teens understand why it’s critical to start developing positive spending and savings habits now, as well as to teach them how banks can help them prepare for a secure future.

“This is a real eye opener for them,” said Martice Adams, a Career Connections teacher at Northeast Prep Academy. “This gets them thinking about the long term, not just short term.”

Most of the student participants at Northeast Prep are either part of Adams’ Career Connections class or enrolled in RISE’s STEP Prep program. While many are preparing to live on their own for the first time as college students, not all of them have fully considered what it really means to be independent.

“Teaching Children to Save” allowed students to test the waters by putting them in real-world situations that they will face on their own. Students in the workshop are challenged to manage a budget while working through different scenarios. They start with a salary and must account for expenses, such as car payments, groceries, gas and entertainment. For many, it’s been surprising to realize the number of expenses and just how quickly they add up when.

Yet, leading a paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle to account for common everyday spending is not the focus of the workshop. Most importantly, students are encouraged to incorporate regular savings into their budgets so they can be prepared for the unexpected, too.

“Just putting away 10 dollars a week will make a real difference,” Huff told the students.

Senior Infiniti Eskridge said the workshop helped her understand how much her mother has been taking care of her.

“I started to see how much I’m going to need to have to live a certain way,” she said. “We need to be prepared.”

The RISE Foundation and Wells Fargo brought the “Teaching Children to Save” workshops into several schools throughout Memphis.  Additionally, Wells Fargo recently gave RISE a $ 5,000 grant to support its continued financial literacy work in Memphis.

For more information about this campaign or other RISE programs, visit www.risememphis.org.


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