Financial literacy means understanding how the decisions you make today can affect you in the future and it’s a concept that many area youngsters recently had a crash-course in thanks to a group of local DECA students.
Oxford High School seniors Kalli Mulholland and Cameron Collins have been teaching fellow Wildcats financial literacy throughout the school year, as part of their DECA service project.
The DECA program is a global student organization that prepares students to be leaders and entrepreneurs in the fields of marketing and finance, hospitality and management.
“Our goal was to promote the necessity of financial literacy in today’s youth and allow them to recognize that this is a need even though it’s not really in our curriculum, especially at the elementary and middle school levels. They need to take action themselves to learn these concepts and we wanted to give them easy ways to do that,” said Mulholland said.
“We also want to try and promote financial literacy in the (Oxford Schools) curriculum … We wanted to make students and administrators more aware that financial literacy is important for youth and their futures to help reduce debt and financial issues. The high school offers a finance class, but it’s an extracurricular course, so there isn’t a regular (opportunity) for students to practice this.”
According to Mulholland, her group is looking to teach fellow students how money works in the world – how it is earned, managed and invested.
To do this, she and Collins have organized finance-focused activities for elementary, middle and high school students throughout the district since the start of the school year.
At the elementary level, one fourth-grade class at Clear Lake Elementary participated in a number of fun lessons created by the OHS seniors to pique their interest in money management.
Several weeks later, the group turned their attention towards Oxford Middle School, where students were invited to participate in an online financial literacy program.
The program gave students real-life scenarios which challenged them to handle finances and allowed them to learn how to budget.
“Students had a real-life situation where they had to handle payments and other life expenses. They were exposed to what all the financial aspects that they’ll have to deal with in the future,” Mulholland said.
In November, Mulholland and Collins also organized a trip for OHS students to attend Quicken Loans Junior Achievement Finance Park in Detroit, a hands-on learning center that allows students to learn how to manage their finances and explains to them how their money-related decisions today will impact their futures.
Around 60 students from OHS attended.
Mulholland and Collins said they will be carrying their knowledge of financial literacy with them as they continue on in their lives.
“We loved every moment of getting to teach these students and while we were teaching them, we learned a lot ourselves. It was a great experience getting to learn so much and pass that onto others,” Mulholland added. “Personally, I want to major in business, so finance is something that really interests me. The whole project gave me a (better understanding of) why I would want to pursue business.”
Mulholland plans to attend the University of Michigan to pursue a degree in business.
Collins plans to attend the University of Arizona and join their law program, with the intended goal of going into business law.