A decade ago, Kasey Hill began her career as an educator at A.V.I.D (Advancement via Individual Determination) in Edmonds, WA, which provides underprivileged children with an opportunity to learn outside the classroom. When her son was born, Kasey put her full-time teaching career on hold. But education was soon calling her back – specifically, the idea of bringing financial education to students in her community.
"I wanted to use the out-of-the-box teaching styles I had learned at A.V.I.D. and integrate financial literacy into my lessons." As a result, Kasey created a weeklong hands-on financial literacy camp for Washington youth Called Growing Wealth From the Start.
The camp's first session was held in July 2015 and focused on preparing students for their financial futures. "I wanted to give kids the financial tools they need to choose and create financial freedom by exploring, experimenting and developing new ways to view finances." Kasey and two Washington state certified educators taught 13 middle school students about a variety of topics, including interview techniques, fiscal responsibility, business operation and more.
Kasey contacted local businesses in the community to arrange field trips to local businesses such as restaurants, travel companies, businesses of commerce, candy shops and cafes. Campers learned how the businesses started and how they run on a daily basis. It gave them an opportunity to hear about the costs and financial responsibilities behind businesses from the owners and workers themselves.
In another camp activity, students created dream boards to learn about saving and planning for their futures. They cut images and words out of magazines representing what they wanted and glued them to a board. "Students used a photo of a house and family or an image of travel and South Africa," Kasey explains. "Some students want to run their own restaurant, while others have goals of attending college." The students then explored the financial cost of the items featured on their boards. "When parents came in they were amazed to discover what their kids had in mind for their futures and that they understood the financials needed to get there."
At the end of the camp, each student was gifted $20 to put in a mutual fund, and several students contributed additional funds to it. Some students taught financial information to their parents and continued to save after the camp. Kasey looks forward to upcoming camps. She has a new beginners camp planned for next year that is nearly booked, which will teach new students the basics about personal finance. She also plans to teach a second camp for returning students, which will build on what students learned at their previous camp session.
Kasey wants campers to know that being financially responsible is essential for a successful future. She tells her students that "their number one asset is themselves and it's important for them to reach out and take responsibility for their own education."
Practical Money Skills would like to commend Kasey Hill for her ongoing commitment to financial literacy at the Growing Wealth From the Start in Edmonds, Washington.