Scholars Pay it Forward

On Saturday, April 27th the scholars of the Class of 2014 of our “Invest-in-Success” program had the opportunity to lead a 1.5 hour long workshop on budgeting and the basics of money management for a group of middle school students from the Liberty LEADS program at the Bankstreet College of Education on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The workshop was planned in recognition of National Financial Literacy Month.

Our scholars led an engaging discussion and guided their younger counterparts through a full lesson and shared experiences from their financial literacy journeys.  For many of the scholars, teaching the material helped to bolster their own personal understanding of financial literacy concepts. For some, the experience was eye opening as they were able to relate to the younger students and realize how many misperceptions are formed around personal finances. One Scholar, Milton Lopez, an aspiring teacher, said “The session was a great experience. It gave me direct experience in teaching and provided a glimpse into my future goal. More importantly, I enjoyed teaching a younger generation about their finances. It’s very important to start learning these concepts at a young age.”

A humorous and interesting moment of the workshop occurred during a conversation regarding “wants” versus “needs”. Co-Founder, Femi Faoye polled the youngsters and asked which category did Jordan sneakers belong in. Overwhelmingly, many of the students labeled Jordan’s as “needs”, which came as no surprise to any individual who has experience working with urban youth. However, the scholars leading the session quickly interjected and explained to the students that although Jordan’s are desirable items they are not “needs” and, in fact, should be considered a luxury purchase. The scholars also encouraged the students to seek out lower priced alternatives to Jordan’s that still allowed them to be “cool”. (A very important factor for a young person that cannot be overlooked)

The workshop was the manifestation of the vision of the Co-Founders of D.R.E.A.M. when they created the idea for the “Invest-in-Success” program in 2009.  The Co-Founders knew an important component of creating a generational change in the culture and perceptions regarding personal finances in urban communities would require D.R.E.A.M. trained evangelicals that would work within their communities to spread the knowledge. “Having scholars lead sessions for middle school and elementary school students was a vision we had while the organization was in its nascent stages. The Scholars serve as a bridge between adults and a younger demographic  in helping to spread the important message of financial literacy. We are very proud of our scholars for leading this session and we look forward to similar events in the future,” said Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Femi Faoye. 

D.R.E.A.M. would like to send a special thank you to Shawn Williams and Ana Tiburcio of the Liberty LEADS program for coordinating the workshop and hosting our organization. We are grateful for your support and continuing partnership in assisting us in spreading the knowledge of financial literacy to the youth of New York City. For more information on the extraordinary services Liberty LEADS provides for youth, please visit their website


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