Financial Life Skills and Education for youth are at crisis levels. Many of these youth have never had proper guidance on establishing legitimate banking/financial management practices for their life. This challenge is magnified by those youth who are receiving a special diploma through the school system, as most of them are struggling with educational efforts, as well as development of life skills.
Project Looking Ahead is a program for the motivated student who has received a Special Diploma and is between the ages of 18 – 22. The program is designed to help the student transition from high school to work and independence. Independence is the final goal of the program allowing the student to be goal oriented and motivated to take the necessary steps to be a successful citizen.
Hernando County Extension Agent Scott Taylor, in partnership with the Project Looking Ahead team, has developed a comprehensive program for this audience that covers financial literacy, goal setting, marketing yourself, and skills for interviewing. To reach this audience, Hernando County FCS developed the ‘Looking A.H.E.A.D. for our Future’ program. This six part (12 hour) program was designed to provide financial life skills to the Project Looking Ahead students. This program covers financial life skills such as budgeting, prioritizing needs (shelter, food, transportation, etc.) versus wants (jewelry, electronics), tracking expenses, and how to become self-sufficient. The program communicates the importance of an emergency fund, long term saving strategies, and how to read salary statements (gross income vs net income, taxes, etc.). Other topics include effective credit use, thinking about retirement, the importance of insurance and estate planning, and lastly, how to market themselves for that successful career.
Of the youth who have completed this program, 73% stated they want to begin a savings program, and 83% said they feel better about their ability to “make ends meet” when they become independent. Several students have realized how economical learning to cook and eating at home is, as compared to always eating out or ‘hitting the drive-thru.’ Another result, although not measurable, is that many of the youth want to speak with their parent/guardian about opening up “mainstream” bank accounts or to at least become “bankable”.
With the myriad of challenges facing at-risk youth, this type of program provides beneficial, possibly life-altering information on Money Management and Financial coaching in a structured format that they can use.
For more information on wildlife and invasive species, contact UF IFAS Extension Hernando County at 16110 Aviation Loop Drive, Brookville 34604. Telephone: 352-754-4433. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. UF/IFAS Extension in Hernando County provides solutions for your life. Extension programs are open to all persons without regard to race, color, sex, age, disability, religion, or national origin.