Scouts learn mer­its of thrift

The Kansas City Star (Sunday) - - LOCAL - By ROBERT A. CRON­KLE­TON

To be bet­ter pre­pared for the fu­ture, girls and their moms at­tend a fi­nan­cial sem­i­nar at UMKC.

Af­ter hear­ing a fed­eral bank­ruptcy judge talk Satur­day about the dan­gers of us­ing credit un­wisely, 13-year-old Rae­vion Wells of Kansas City said she had learned an im­por­tant les­son.

“I know now not to go out of town and max out my card,” said Rae­vion, who plans to use the knowl­edge later in life once she gets a credit card.

That way, she could get a stu­dent loan if she needs one, a car and a good-pay­ing job, said Rae­vion, a stu­dent at the Der­rick Thomas Academy in Kansas City.

Rae­vion said she is con­fi­dent she now knows how to make that hap­pen.

“I won’t get de­nied on any of those things be­cause of my credit score,” she said.

Rae­vion was among nearly 150 girls and moth­ers who at­tended “Mak­ing Cent$ in the City,” a one-day fi­nan­cial ed­u­ca­tion work­shop put on by the Women’s Foun­da­tion of Greater Kansas City and the Girl Scouts of North­east Kansas and North­west Mis­souri. The work­shop was at the Uni­ver­sity of Mis­souri-Kansas City.

The Girl Scout coun­cil in­tro­duced the Mak­ing Cent$ in the City badge pro­gram in 2009. To earn the badge, a scout had to par­tic­i­pate in eight work­shop ses­sions Satur­day. The Women’s Foun­da­tion cre­ated its own badge that was handed out to the girls.

The work­shop also was open to girls who were not Scouts.

Af­ter her first ses­sion, Raevoin said what she heard might in­flu­ence how she makes pur­chases.

“I want to say that maybe I won’t buy it, or at least not on my credit card,” Rae­vion said. “I will try to at least save up and buy it with my own money and save the credit card for emer­gen­cies.”

The pro­gram was de­signed for girls in grades six through 12 and their par­ents to teach them about check­ing ac­counts, debit cards, credit cards, credit scores, bud­get­ing and job prepa­ra­tion.

Den­nis Dow, the chief bank­ruptcy judge for the West­ern District of Mis­souri, said it was E. THOMAS MCCLANA­HAN | B9

im­por­tant to teach chil­dren fi­nan­cial man­age­ment skills so that when they are older they use credit wisely and avoid learn­ing lessons the hard way.

“We just don’t want to see them in our courts, and this is one way help make that a re­al­ity,” Dow said.

Dawn Oliver, the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Women’s Foun­da­tion, said her or­ga­ni­za­tion de­vel­oped the pro­gram with the Girls Scouts to help women and girls take fi­nan­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity for their fu­tures.

“The de­ci­sions they are mak­ing to­day are go­ing to im­pact them the rest of their lives,” Oliver said. “If a young woman is not fi­nan­cially self­suf­fi­cient and does not have some good ca­reer plans and ends up get­ting preg­nant and drop­ping out of high school, they are 90 per­cent likely to stay that way and they are 90 per­cent likely to turn that over to their chil­dren. That cy­cle of poverty will con­tinue.”

Em­mie Ken­ni­cott-Fuhlhage of Olathe, who at­tended the work­shop with her 12-yearold daugh­ter, Han­nah Fuhlhage, said that for her, fi­nan­cial top­ics were like a men­tal garage door clos­ing.

“I am one of those who saves money, but I would re­ally rather not deal with it,” Ken­ni­cott-Fuhlhage said. “I wanted to ed­u­cate my­self a lit­tle bit bet­ter.”

Ken­ni­cott-Fuhlhage said she brought Han­nah to the work­shop so they both would be­come more fi­nan­cially lit­er­ate. Han­nah is a six­th­grader at Haven­croft Ele­men­tary School in Olathe.

As a par­ent, mak­ing sure your chil­dren are fi­nan­cially lit­er­ate is ex­tremely im­por­tant, Ken­ni­cott-Fuhlhage said.

“I know peo­ple who work very hard, make good money, but don’t have much fi­nan­cial sense and I have seen what that can do.” To reach Robert A. Cron­kle­ton, call 816-234-4261 or send e-mail to bcron­kle­[email protected]­star.com.

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