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New ways to engage youth in money matters
I love my job. I have been working as a facilitator in the Solutions for Youth program at Causeway Work Centre in Ottawa for two years. This pre-employment program provides workshops on topics such as goal setting, job searching and interview techniques, stress management, conflict resolution and self esteem. It is a rewarding job as I help young people find meaningful work or return to school to follow their dreams.
Through my work, I meet young people who are also struggling with money management issues – cashing cheques through a payday lender and spending their whole paycheques to buy a laptop with no money left for food or rent.
Financial literacy is so important but for the most part is not taught in schools. This is a shame as there are so many traps that youth can get into with payday loan companies or with the various types of easy credit being offered.
Finance is a tedious topic and one that is difficult to engage youth in. I was thrilled to participate in the CCFL’s financial literacy training, where I discovered new ways to make money matters relevant to my youth clients – and improved my knowledge as well. The video provided by the CCFL was a great doorway into the subject.
I have incorporated the CCFL’s curriculum into our existing program and can already see some of my clients changing their attitudes towards money. In the group exercise on savings, one youth realized he used a third of his income on his car. It dawned on him that he would be unable to rent an apartment and have a car at the same time. This changed the way he was job searching and when/whether he would move out of his parents’ home. Another client, when looking at the things he buys often, was astounded to see how much money he uses to buy cigarettes and he is actually trying to quit smoking now!
It is wonderful to be able to give youth unbiased information in a way they enjoy and in a language they understand.
Myra Gillis is a youth program facilitator at Causeway Work Centre, in Ottawa, ON.
“Learning how to invest their hard-earned money wisely gives youth a better chance at life. This has become a real passion for me.”
Brian Smith, winner of the 2010 Passion for Financial Literacy SEDI Award
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