For some, the recent economic downturn has not merely made their lives hard, but harder. Many families who were barely able to afford college last year are now not able to at all. As major companies and banks fold and pyramid schemes are exposed, our country is left to worry about how our youth will handle and understand money.
While schools do teach math, they do not necessarily teach money. Operation HOPE believes that is a major reason why about 25% of students do not graduate high school. Teaching financial competency throughout the country is one of their major goals, along with educating 5 million low-wealth youth in financial literacy, opening 50,000 new bank accounts for families who need them, and securing 50 million in earned income tax credits. The launch of their 5 Million Kids campaign will be the largest financial literacy nonprofit in the nation, and it will shape minority students’ opportunities in the future.
With the White House and big names like Andrew Young and Quincy Jones Jr. backing it, operation HOPE’s 5 Million Kids campaign (5MK for short) is certainly getting attention. It is a national initiative which aims to show students how valuable education can be in making money. As they put it on the 5MK website, “Operation HOPE believes the best way to break the high-school drop-out epidemic is to tie education to aspiration in life.”
This past January, Operation HOPE launched a program aimed at minority college students: Banking on Our Future, College Edition. According to Operation HOPE, the program, again with backing from the White House, is trying to “help students develop positive and healthy attitudes and beliefs about money, and learn about how to handle many of the social pressures associated with spending.”
Financial literacy is the key to preventing the next generation from making many of the same mistakes we’ve recently made. We should learn from our mistakes. If we can teach financial literacy now at least something good will come out of this recession. If you are interested in reading more about Operation Hope’s 5 Million Kids Campaign or their Banking on the Future campaigns please see www.operationhope.org.