Economic Literacy isn’t the most exciting subject on the planet, and you might wonder what it has to do with community art. The bottom line is that either we learn to control our finances, or they will control us. Most of the work of Tucson Arts Brigade is in areas where poverty is a stress factor, and a barrier to comfortably developing one’s creative voice. For that reason we felt it important to incorporate economic literacy into our overall curriculum.
For this project we were fortunate enough (thanks to Kresge in Tucson/Tucson Pima Arts Council, Pro Neighborhoods, Union Pacific and members of the Tucson Arts Brigade) to be able to provide stipends for 13 youth. We broke the news to them late in the project to insure cash wasn’t an incentive, rather a reward for putting in well over 100 hours of community service.
In a moment of synchronicity Evelyn Madrid of the Bank of America had recently contacted TAB. We were able to arrange a training complete with gifts. It was a great training covering the basics of creating a basic budget, savings and checking accounts.
There are a variety of resources available for people seeing financial literacy training opportunities the Jump Start Coalition and the National Endowment for Financial Education and locally at Hughes Federal Credit Union and the Credit Wise Cats at the University of Arizona.
The youth in this project are extraordinary, and are really a beacon of hope. Part of that bright future means expanding financial learning and literacy opportunities.
More to come on the subject of economic literacy – even if it is just a tad bit boring.