Summer program offers free financial education for those on the brink of adulthood


By Curtis Wildfong • Last Updated 11:43 am on Friday, June 27, 2014

GREENVILLE — As graduating seniors head off to college or the work force and incoming seniors consider their paths, The United Way Montcalm-Ionia Counties and Greenville Public Schools are teaming to offer financial education to help those beginning life on their own.

In 10 workshop sessions over two weeks beginning July 7, the Summer Money Camp will focus on the costs of living, everything from transportation, housing, college, banking, debt, investments, parenting and more. The program, which is held at Greenville High School, will focus mostly on those who recently graduated or are nearing graduation.

“Our students nearing graduation need to be prepared for the important decisions they will make about personal finances. Unfortunately, few are able to access that content in our curriculum, given the loss of elective time in their graduation credit requirements,” Superintendent Pete Haines said. “These are life skills that can make a real difference on quality of life.”

The workshops, which will be held on weekdays for two daily sessions, will begin July 7.

The morning session will be held from 9:30 a.m. to noon and the afternoon session, which will be a repeat of the morning session, will be from 12:30 to 3 p.m.

The Summer Money Camp was just recently put together, but will give those who participate an in-depth look at what costs there are in everyday life as they move forward in their lives and careers.

The reason for the course, according to officials, is to give students as much basic knowledge in managing their finances as possible as they enter into post secondary life.

“Colleges don’t require students to take financial education and there is no financial education class requirement at the state or national level (of high school),” said Adam Ellsworth, financial literacy program coordinator, United Way Montcalm-Ionia Counties.

To give students a better chance of living comfortably and within their means, students must be informed on the costs associated with whatever their goals may be.

We are figuring out where you want to go and how much that will cost. Then we look at wants and needs,” Ellsworth said. “We gradually go through what it takes to have live a decent life.”

“In particular, Adam will work with our students to understand things like paying for college, managing debt, and planning for a future,” Haines added. “He spends time on what seem like simple ideas (such as) ‘wants versus needs,’ but then projects how those decisions leverage a person’s financial situation for a lifetime.”

Participation in the program is free and voluntary. Students are able to attend either of the daily sessions. Transportation will be provided for those who sign up. Food and prizes will also be given at the workshops.

To sign up for the program visit www.summermoneycamp.com or email Ellsworth at aellsworth.uwm.i@gmail.com.

“The takeaway from these workshops, it’s no matter what sort of life you live, money will impact it,” Ellsworth said.

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