04/27/09 — Students learn money, life skills at workshop

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Students learn money, life skills at workshop

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on April 27, 2009 1:46 PM

More than 125 high school students from Wayne, Duplin, Lenoir and Sampson counties got a taste of what adult life is like recently at the Wayne Center.

Departments of Social Services from Wayne and Lenoir counties and Eastpointe sponsored the "Real World" workshop that gave the teenagers knowledge they would use in a few years as adults.

From budgeting to bank accounts and car insurance to dressing well for an interview, the teenagers learned that being an adult means more responsibility.

"We want these children to know how to make responsible decisions when it comes that time," said Phyllis Greene, System of Care director for Eastpointe .

When young people have the information they need to make good decisions based on their income and budget, they are better-prepared for their future, Ms. Greene said.

At the workshop were several stations with experts in various fields such as banking, insurance, financial advice and job interviewing. The participants were given an imaginary amount of money to learn how to juggle their finances, depending on their situation.

"What we do is we give these kids a certain amount of money to work with in their budget. If they graduate from high school, they get a certain amount. If they graduate from a two-year community college, they get a little more. And if they graduate from a four-year university with a degree, they get the most," Ms. Greene said. "Then they will get to decide how they spent the money they have in their budget.

"They can choose if they want to eat or get their nails done."

Goldsboro High School student, Xavier Knight, 15, said he learned a great deal from the workshop.

"I learned how to interview for a job. We all need to be able to get a job," he said. "I learned that it's best to have insurance, on your car and on your home. I know how to write a check and what you need to have to get a checking account. And I know how to budget."

He said he would spend money from his imaginary budget on clothes and medical insurance.

But he added he believes that learning about how to interview for a job was the most important information. Without a job, he said, you don't have the money to do other things.

ADLA Structure Day School students said they learned a lot about finances that they will need to know.

Anika Alston, 15, said that she realized how easily money can disappear.

As she looked at her budget, she said she "didn't have any money left over."

Jamal Sutton, 16, said he was happy that he was taught how to write a check correctly, and what checking and savings bank accounts were for.

Seventeen-year-olds Donyell Morrison and Brian Morton said they really found the workshop helpful.

"I learned about insurance, and how you need insurance on your house in case your house burns down or anything like that. And I learned that you should have a savings account," Morrison said.

Morton said the workshop really made him stop and think about how important it is to try to save money.

"It taught me how to save better. And I learned about credit, how you need to have good credit to get anything," he said.

He said he would use a portion of his imaginary budget to save money toward buying a house at the workshop.

Nova Five Points Day School student Tyheem Simmons, 16, said he now knows how to manage money better after learning about different financial aspects from the workshop.

"I know how to write a check correctly and not make it fraudulent. I know how to manage my money," he said.

Ieshia Rivers, a 15-year-old student at Belfast Academy, said she felt she had a better understanding of how to save money better after the workshop, and explained how she would spend her imaginary dollars on a car and car insurance.

"You've got to have insurance," she said.

This was the first year for the workshop, but Ms. Greene said she foresees it becoming an annual event.

"We really believe in this," she said.

Even Eastpointe's chief financial officer, Bob Canupp, and area director Ken Jones both helped talk to the teenagers about budgeting.

Educators from around the county also believed the workshop was a helpful one.

John Twitty, principal of Belfast Academy, said that the school didn't have enough money in its budget to send students over to the workshop. So he donated his own money and a bus driver volunteered his time to get about 18 young people there.

"You do what you have to do," Twitty said. "I hope these kids learn something that helps them in their future endeavors."