I’ve never been more excited and willing to give public accolades about an organization than I am for World of Money (WoM). I am extremely impressed, overjoyed and appreciative of this organization and its mission. So much so that I did not hesitate to accept the Executive Director’s, Sabrina Lamb, offer to share my thoughts, as a parent, about World of Money (WoM).
I was introduced to the World of Money (WoM) at an educational conference last Nov. Ms. Lamb conducted a workshop showcasing key aspects of WoM’s philosophies which shed light on many adult fears and often unproductive relationships with money. When Sabrina stated the program was geared toward children I was a little reluctant to believe that students as young as 12 could grasp or would be interested in grasping financial concepts that some adults didn’t know. Ms. Lamb and WoM reminded me that our kids are smart and with the proper guidance, they can handle any material we put in front of them. Sabrina also reminded me that if we, as adults, want the next generation to be better financial mangers than we are, we must start teaching them now!
As parents we tend to teach our children the value of general/mainstream education and many other fundamental humanitarian concepts that will make them upstanding citizens, but we often neglect to consciously educate them about the financial lessons we’ve learned. The unconscious lessons we teach our children are obtained as they watch our behaviors and interactions with money. Though watching us, children pick up a variety of negative, unproductive habits, and non-lucrative spending patterns that prohibits them from being better financial stewards than we are.
I realized as a parent that I may not have been doing the best job at articulating personal financial management to my son. As Ms. Lamb often explains to the parents in the WoM program, you can’t fault your kids for asking for too much, spending too much, wanting too much or wasting too much; because they don’t know. They don’t know how expensive things are; they don’t know the household expenses we have to handle before we can think about buying them a new pair of sneakers. They don’t know what it takes to be a good financial manager. This program helps to eradicate the cycle of financial mis-management and provides an introduction as well as a means to help our children become financially successful adults.
For many underprivileged youth and their families, the program helps to break the cycle of poverty, habitual spending and curbs the need for immediate gratification (which prevents many children from understanding the importance of saving for a rainy day and investing for their future). For students and their families that are a little more financially savvy, WoM helps raise the bar of financial accountability and stewardship. WoM is uniquely positioned to shift the financial paradigm for many of the families it touches through the fundamental concepts of learn, earn, save, invest and donate.For all of these reasons, I knew without hesitation, that I was going to register my son to be apart of this program.
Since my introduction to this program, I have ceaselessly sung the praises of WoM to family, friends, co-workers and even strangers. I think I’ve started my own WoM marketing campaign. I’ve sent email blasts and photo narratives of my son’s experiences at WoM. Photos including:
His trip to DC, where he was able to see where money is literally made as well as the places and people that make decisions about how the nation’s money is used;
The opening bell ceremony at NASDAQ, which was an amazing and impressive experience. I graduated with a MBA in finance from Fordham University and I wasn’t exposed to such a phenomenal event;
The real estate tour in Brooklyn, where the students learned so many lessons beyond valuing real estate. They were exposed to history lessons, the value of community/neighborhood involvement and the importance of having a vision! Ms. Jacqui Weekes, our Brooklyn real estate tour guide, is an amazing woman. She shared some of her life lessons and experiences with the youth. She was truly inspirational, informative and passionate about her career. She reinforced many of the lessons the students learned in the WoM training and I would venture to say, she made a profound impact on them.
The students also had an opportunity to practice one of the WoM’s principles, donate. Students donated their time on a Saturday morning to clean-up and beautify neighborhood parks, as well as help the elderly. My son and I had a new experience bonding over dirt, bugs and garbage bags as we cleaned Von King Park in Brooklyn.WoM is truly exemplary in its ability to teaches its core values in a classroom setting and then strategically develops activities/events (such as the ones mentioned above) to re-enforce these values and make them practical.
Not only does WoM provide financial literacy to our youth, which is clearly delineated in its curriculum, but it almost seamlessly instills a since of self-pride, purpose and a host of soft skills kids may not even realize they’re learning. For example, they learn networking, etiquette, manners, dressing for success, grooming, the importance of being on time and the financial consequences that can result when you’re not.
Some parents/guardians may wonder, how the lessons in financial matters will help their child with reading, writing and arithmetic. Not only is reading, writing and mathematics required in the program, but through its financial literacy/career-focused workshops, WoM has developed a unique approach to motivating students to graduate HS and seek higher education. WoM helps students see that education leads to better paying careers and adds meaning to life, in other words, World of Money gives school a purpose for many at-risk students. As a result of participating in WoM, 85% of its students have improved their grades and 90% are now saving for college!
President Obama has charged ever citizen to volunteer, as a means to improve our communities and our country. Volunteerism is a key element in WoM. Students learn the value, need and purpose of giving back. As such, I’m committed to helping WoM carry out its mission to improve the financial literacy of underserved youth and help them economically empower their communities.
In Jim Collins’ book, “Good to Great”, he discusses the elements that move a company from being good to being great. He explains that there isn’t one pivotal moment or one critical act that propels a company from good to great, but it is the small steps that get the wheels of success turning. Greatness happens when an organization (such as WoM) takes one step forward, people (like us) take notice of the positive results and join in to support their efforts. WoM has taken many steps to move the organization and our children into greatness. The students it has graduated from the program are evidence of this. I ask you to take notice and support this organization as it works to support our children.
To Sabrina Lamb and the WoM Board of Directors, on behalf of the WoM parents, thank you for giving our children this phenomenal experience.