'You Were Made to do Amazing Things'
By Mel Campbell
“You were made to do amazing things.” It’s a phrase Eric Smith, a renowned financial literacy coach, uses with young people. It’s also a message that underlies the reason behind having him and other Regions associates go out into the community and share the basics of financial education.
At the 2022 Regions Tradition, more than 20 students from Birmingham’s Wenonah High School were part of a special event held during the first round of the PGA TOUR Champions major. But their involvement wasn’t just to see the sights and sounds of pros playing at hall-of-fame levels. It was to see and experience something that each of them is working toward as a part of their education.
The students – who are seniors and part of the Hospitality and Tourism Academy through the Alabama school – were also treated to overviews of event planning, sport sponsorship and the world of charitable giving as part of a whirlwind exposure to real-world experiences in their day at the tournament.
The event was the brainchild of an effort between the Birmingham Education Foundation, which Regions supports, Regions Bank and the Hospitality and Tourism Academy at Wenonah High.
“The best part of education is when you put what is being learned into action,” said Quiwintre Frye, director of programing and operations at the Birmingham Education Foundation. “Today, the students got to come to an event, one of the biggest in the area… (and see) examples of their careers and opportunities for them.
Smith, who leads financial training sessions for athletes from college to the professional level, talked about the importance of saving money, and what saving means in the long run. Using the simple math of saving $20 for some 50 years, he showed the kids what that could mean:
And like he told them, “Money grows a certain way.”
He followed up that wise observation by providing an explanation of credit scores, the use of debit and credit cards, and basic budgeting – providing fun examples and interactive games that kept the students involved and competing for prizes.
“I really liked the cup game. I learned about credit scores, and that a good number is in the 700s,” said student Katona Jackson.
“One thing I learned was the 80-10-10 rule,” said De’Avonte Shanks. “I was already saving for a car, about 30 percent, but I understand that it important to put money away in case the unexpected happens.”
The students ended the day taking in great golf, awesome weather and a bit more aware of what they need to do manage their finances, as they begin to navigate their post-high school world.
Did You Know?
Regions and its associates continued their commitment to financial education in 2021, leading 124,000 financial education workshops. For more information, check out Regions’ Community Engagement Report.