United Way of Central Massachusetts

Women’s Initiative Spotlight

Teaching Shrewsbury Girls to be Dollar $cholars

On April 22 – 24, 2013, 230 eighth-grade girls from Oak Middle School in Shrewsbury will be given the tools to be more confident with their money, learn how to use credit wisely, and gain a better understanding of a household budget at the 9th annual Financial Literacy and Economic Empowerment Conference, Dollar $cholars.

The Women’s Initiative of United Way of Central Massachusetts, in partnership with many local companies such as Hanover Insurance Foundation, Bank of America, and the Fred Harris Daniels Foundation is presenting three conferences at the Hagan Campus Center Hall, Assumption College (500 Salisbury Street, Worcester, MA). Throughout the three days, Shrewsbury’s 8th grade girls will be partnered with more than 100 area professional women who have agreed to volunteer as “Money Mentors” for the day. Many of the women have agreed to lend their time because they fully understand the current economic challenges and see the need in their own lives for financial skills. The conference is expected to run from approximately 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. each day.

The mission of the Women’s Initiative of the United Way of Central Massachusetts is to promote women’s leadership and philanthropy and to create positive change for women and children.  The Women’s Initiative is a volunteer-based women’s group whose vision is build, strengthen, and support the development of healthy, confident, safe adolescent girls.  Raising funds for its work through an annual campaign, the Women’s Initiative puts more money into programs that improve and empower the lives of girls through mentoring, educational opportunities, and financial literacy. United Way of Central Massachusetts connects people and resources to improve the community by focusing on the building blocks for a good life: education, family stability, and health.

Financial Literacy Tips for Parents:

Here are a few things that parents can do to continue training their daughters to be financially literate after the conference ends:

1. Review some of the conference modules presented at the Conference to introduce financial literacy terms (ie bank account, budgeting, interest). Show parent’s practical use of those terms.
2. Networking Bingo - use this exercise to find out how your daughter would introduce herself to someone other than family member by using eye contact, firm handshake and confidence.
3. Cent$ and Cen$ibility - use this exercise to identify your own individual money personality (ie Saver, Negotiator, Spender, Stasher) and what money reveals about you.
4. Budget Sense - use this exercise to talk about the importance of tracking the money (income) we have and the money we spend (expenses) and how important it is to live within a balanced budget. 
Practical Use:
- Help form habits on saving and spending for now and the future
- Show different ways that money actually works for them ... Checking account, electronic banking (ATMs),  savings account and credit cards
- Open up a savings account in their daughter’s name
- Teach the concept of philanthropy and its importance by sharing ways they give either time, talent and treasure to make a difference in the community

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Thuha Le