Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Interest and a Fake Store

Somehow it's the end of another semester again.  I give my last finals tomorrow and then it's summer!  Brett and I will be going on a cruise to Mexico next week with some friends, which we are highly anticipating.  It will be a great break before heading back to work.  This summer, I somehow got myself into three different teaching gigs.  I'm looking forward to it, but it will keep me busy.  Who needs three months of summer anyway, right?

In other news, one of my high school teachers, Mrs. Hutchins, mentors a group of under-privileged kids in north Tulsa alongside her husband (I hate to use under-privileged, but I don't know what other word to use).  They've asked us to help out a couple times.  Basically what they do is mentor seven kids (grades 7-9) and teach them valuable skills that they may not get at school or at home, such as budgeting, resume-writing, business ettiquette, etc. (No, that's not parallel...sawee!)  I know what you're thinking: "You can't teach middle schoolers those things!"  I thought the same thing.  And, we're both wrong.  After completing this year of training, the students will find 8-week internships for the summer and will get paid $75 every two weeks, which is funded by donors.  Mrs. Hutchins has done an amazing job helping them find these internships.  Most will probably volunteer at the library; one girl is planning on helping at a vet clinic (she wants to work with animals when she grows up); and another girl has a chance to work at a law firm (she's an aspiring lawyer)!  Anyone who knows anything about Brett and me knows that we're really passionate about giving others a chance at a higher quality of life through education.  We're pretty excited about what the Hutchins are doing.

So, Thursday we were asked to talk about interest--both good and bad--and the dangers of debt.  I guess a math teacher and an auditor are a logical choice for this kind of lesson, but I was kind of freaking out about it.  It's one thing to talk about interest to college students; quite another to talk about it to middle schoolers.  But, we shouldn't have worried.  The students were a great audience, and I think we were able show them both the good and the ugly of interest, or "extra money" as one of the students defined it so beautifully and simply.

After our short lesson we played a game where the students earned money and were then allowed to spend it on store we set up (items for purchase included candy, Oreos, and a Super Soaker).  However, they were also allowed to buy on credit.  The catch--if the game ended and they were in the hole, they went bankrupt:  no prize for them!  They played along great and had good insights at the end.  Which, I think was the point.

Brett and I had a great time with these kids.  It's more blessed to give than receive?  I think so.

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