Today’s economy may be rough waters, but one offering at Tucson International Academy (TIA) is equipping students with the knowledge and skills they need to chart a steady course.
What is Credit-Wise Cats All About?
Credit-Wise Cats is a program of the University of Arizona which aims to improve the financial literacy of Arizona youth. Each month, students from the University of Arizona who have been trained in personal finance and presentation skills teach workshops at each TIA campus.
The seven workshops integrate valuable financial principles and practical life skills. Workshop titles include Spending Plans, Savings, Credit Reports, Credit Cards, Invest in Yourself, Identity Theft, and Paychecks. One of the of the most popular workshops, according to TIA Educator Jonathan Basurto, is “Invest in Yourself,” which compares the long-term differences between earning a wage now versus completing school and earning a higher wage later on.
Free Program Open to All
The workshops take place once a month during the last hour of the school day. They are open to all grades, and are an Economics course requirement for Juniors and Seniors. The program is free, but parents must attend at least one workshop. Typically however, parents attend more than one, surprised by the personal benefit they receive.
This year, TIA is excited to participate in the Arizona Financial Faceoff for the first time. A competition for the whole family, the event includes fun activities such as “Financial Football” and “Budget Ball” where teams build a financial portfolio. And the thematically appropriate prize for the winning team? You guessed it – money.
Program Impact Beyond Academic
It’s easy to see that the program’s impact is beyond academic. “Every single day I hear students talking who are excited about what they’re learning. They tell me stories about how they talked to their cousin about saving for college, or shared with their parents something they learned about budgeting,” says Basurto. “It comes up everywhere – whether it’s a word problem in math or a discussion in economics, the ideas stay fresh in their minds.”
There’s a new wave of Credit-Wise Cats at TIA. Wherever the financial winds blow, they’re on board.