For the past two years, RISE has worked with juniors and seniors in Memphis zip code 38126 by helping them to not only think about their careers choices that they plan to pursue, but to financially look at how their career choices will lead them to realize their desired lifestyles. Most students have only thoughts about what their salaries could be, without consideration of the cost of their education, coupled with the type of lifestyle they want for themselves. Never a consideration of whether or not the two are in alignment!
Well, Antonio was one of the students who participated in the event last year, and he learned first-hand that even if you are true to your passion in selecting a career goal, that you better also add up the cost of your education and your dream lifestyle, to see if you will have enough money to cover the cost. Antonio was not discouraged with what he learned during the one day event, but he definitely wanted to take advantage of scholarship programs and every means necessary to avoid loans or any debts that could have a long term impact on his financial well-being in the future.
Antonio had already seen others in his community who had taken out loans and received grants during their first two years of college, without completing their course work. Many of them were still left with bills to pay after dropping out of school, which prevented them from returning later when they were more mature and realized that they couldn't get a job without a college degree. According to Antonio "Planning Your Dreams" helped him focus financially at a time when he was preparing for college and it made he extremely conscious of making wise financial choices during his first year of school. He plans to return to the event again this April, not as a participant but as a spearker, so that young people can hear first hand from him that "the only way that you can realize your dreams is to work hard and always plan your finances."
This year’s event will occur again in April, 2013, which is the time in which the nation highlights the importance of financial literacy. RISE will continue to have this annual event and hopes to grow it from year to year so that eventually all 11th and 12th graders in Memphis will be able to attend.
The economy may be unstable, but the Save Up program is continuing to work with low-income families in Shelby County to make the best choices possible with the limited resources they have. Since January, 2013, RISE has graduated 23 program participants who are now in the savings component of the program. These families all have the goal of purchasing an asset like a home, car, computer or funds for education (so that they can compete for job opportunities that will increase their earnings) as well as to purchase additional assets after RISE provides assistance with the first asset purchase.
Everyone who enters the program wants to purchase a home, but after they complete their financial education portion of the program, they realize that a home is not what they should set for their first asset goal. Just like Mr. Myron, who was having difficulty getting to work and had opportunities for other jobs but because he only had access to public transportation, he was unable to work the schedules that employers needed or to even work in the outlying areas of the county where public transportation is not available. So, purchasing a car through the Save Up program became the first asset goal for Mr. Myron. Having his own car was empowering for Mr. Myron because he could then work flexible hours, as well as transport his two children to the homes of relatives and friends when child care services were needed. Having a car also allowed him to lower some of his monthly expenditures because he paid neighbors and friends to take him grocery shopping and to medical appointments for his family.
Mr. Myron is proud to have affordable transportation for his family and now he plans to increase his earnings and continue his savings so that he will be able to purchase a home within the next few years! Through the skills and techniques that Mr. Myron learned at RISE he is confident that he will be able to continue to meet his future asset goals. . .one goal at a time!
The RISE Foundation had the opportunity to celebrate with 6 (out of the 11 inductees) Goal Card students who were inducted in the Booker T. Washington High School's National Honor Society for the 2012/2013 school year. With a total of 17 members, the 11 new members were eager to have such an honor placed on their academic record because it took hard work, commitment, and a focused mind to reach this milestone.
The majority of the students inducted live in the 38126 zip code/community, and have far exceeded the expectations of their peers, as well as some of their parents. One particular young lady, Cermeshia has worked tirelessly to succeed in all that she has been afforded. As an exceptional scholar, faithful band member, and aspiring actress/singer, Cermeshia has begun to see the fruits of her labor. She has had doors opened because of her positive attitude, optimism and committment to her own success. She had the opporunity to participate in the Hattiloo Theater and the RISE Foundation's partnership with the theater's Nutcracker production. She participated in several performances with her school band, and is now a newly inducted Honor Society member. Cermeshia became involved in the Goal Card Program believing that it would help her focus on her education and set her on a career path. She exemplifies the core values of the Goal Card Program, believing that Education + Incentives = Success.
Cermeshia and the rest of the Honor Society members are now preparing for a school beautification project in the lobby of Booker T. Washington High School which is also an atrium. In partnership with other Goal Card students at the school and Alumni supporters, this time next year the atrium will not only have beautiful green plans but improved air quality in the school as well. The students are looking forward to making great things happen during the spring semester!