May 2008

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BrainWise is developing a ground-breaking, replicable model for teaching children and youth financial literacy. Classes at Eagleton Elementary School are reinforcing BrainWise concepts being taught in the school by teaching low income parents the FDIC’s bilingual Money Smart curriculum, and simultaneously teaching children finances infused with BrainWise concepts.  Bank Western has given the program two $5,000 grants to implement this in an after school program in Denver’s Villa Park community.

As shown by BrainWise research and work, it is not enough just to teach the concepts of a particular topic, such as the basics of finance, but to teach people how to use that information to make good choices. That is what BrainWise is about.

As Dr. Barry explained:

“In 2007, we were looking for topics we could teach that would give Villa Park families practice applying the BrainWise program’s thinking skills, called the 10 Wise Ways.  Previous discussions with parents had made us aware that they depended on check cashing services, did not use banks, and bought lottery tickets as a future investments.   I had always wanted to add a financial literacy component to BrainWise, and contacted a lower downtown Rotary Club to learn more about MoneySmart. Using the program, a bilingual BrainWise instructor incorporated the 10 Wise Ways into the instruction.”

“We continued to offer the sessions, and improved our delivery and method. In January, 2008, the Denver Mile High Rotary Club members and other volunteers (bilingual high school students and bilingual businessmen) concurrently taught three combined BrainWise and finances programs:  1)  a session for English speaking parents, 2) a session for  Spanish speaking parents, and 3) a session for the elementary school age children of the parents.  We used the MoneySmart curriculum for the adults and the National Endowment for Financial Education’s (NEFE)  High School Planning Program for the children.”

“The results have been encouraging and we will continue to develop this program and approach, knowing that the topic of financial literacy is critical for youth and parents.”