At Warren High, students encouraged to be financially literate

DOWNEY – On Jan. 11, SkillsUSA at Warren High School hosted a financial workshop titled Money Matters, with the assistance of the Downey Federal Credit Union. 

SkillsUSA members decided to open up the event to all students to better prepare their peers for the real world. 

SkillsUSA is a student-run organization dedicated to prepare students for the workforce through educational programs, events and competitions that all aim to promote career and technical education. At the after school seminar, DFCU’s Business Coordinator Emely Lopez gave a detailed presentation that focused on basic financial information.

“High school kids are taught all about book knowledge: the Pythagorean theorem, the mitochondria in cells, and Shakespeare. We are not always taught, however, how to balance a checkbook, open a bank account, or save money. Most kids have to learn that on their own,” stated Jeremy Marquez, SkillsUSA leader involved in the organization of the Money Matters workshop, “This is why we thought it would be a smart idea to have professionals teach the students about these unwritten rules of adulthood.” 

Promoting money-saving techniques to high school students on campus, this workshop welcomed anyone looking for a chance to develop their capabilities and learn new methods of balancing their finances.

The leadership board of SkillsUSA organized the workshop while DFCU staff and interns gave helpful information and answered questions. The Downey Federal Credit Union is no stranger to being at the forefront of engaging seminars, like this one, where they actively seek to encourage and educate the young people of Downey in financial awareness. 

In order to better establish their own skills, SkillsUSA members helped explain hard-to-grasp concepts while also using the opportunity to leave a positive impact on the students, school, and community.

The SkillsUSA leadership board had furthered their financial knowledge as well -- from not knowing too much about credit unions themselves to learning and then passing on knowledge to their peers at Warren High School. The board has truly worked hard to better prepare other individuals for the adult life after high school with the help of DFCU.

“The event was not just an experience we went through ourselves, but also a chance where we could share our gained knowledge with others because, in the end, we all want to progress together,” commented Alejandra Barreto, Treasurer of SkillsUSA at Warren.

Among the topics covered at the workshop were college expenses, how to efficiently save, and the differences of banks vs credit unions. Listening, discussing, and socializing opened students up to expanding their horizons and gaining the confidence in knowing how to approach different monetary scenarios that may be common in daily life.

The financial workshop was only a small step in giving back to the community by inspiring young people to stay economically aware and act in a professional manner whether it be at school, in the city, or wherever else they can. Students today will become the next business leaders, because they are the future of the community, and preparing them for the upcoming chapter of their lives is important. 

Through this financial lesson, SkillsUSA and DFCU only just opened the door for a more financially responsible future for Downey and beyond. 

SkillsUSA strives to get young people college and career ready, globally competitive, and above all, to transform them into citizens of exemplary character. Downey is full of outstanding students who have the potential to become distinguished members of society, at the forefront of their chosen career paths, and cultivating everyday occupational skills is the first step to their inevitable success.

Valerie Aguilar is a student journalist currently attending Warren High School.