Youth Finance Conference Gets High Praise For Creativity And Innovativeness In Enhancing Financial Literacy

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

The Youth Opportunities, Lessons, and Outcomes (YOLO) Summit was held on September 23 & 24 at the popular entertainment venue, Julee’s on Cross Street. It was held under the theme “Find Your Financial Rhythm.”  The conference attracted youth between the ages of 15 – 35 and highlighted how they can build a more secure financial future through discussions, inspiration and action. It also explored the connection between music, culture and money using innovative learning tools to address a range of money-related topics, as well as the skills, resources, and connections that the youth need to build their financial future.

This youth conference was a collaboration between SamuelFields Consulting Group, (SFCG) a community eLearning partner that specializes in financial literacy and Pockets Change, a US-based award-winning group of finance educators. An exciting line-up of local and international presenters led interactive sessions and shared insights about how the youth should go about setting financial goals that will advance their careers or support their entrepreneurial pursuits.

Officials from the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Culture who attended the opening ceremony commended the organizing team for the novel approach to financial learning. The 2-day event featured two keynote speakers: Brian “Dyalekt” Kusher, a US based finance and music educator who hails from St. Croix and Keisha Schahaff, Galatic astronaut 012, the first Caribbean woman and mother to travel to space. It also featured six 45-minute sessions that addressed the following topics:

Managing Your Emotions When Making Financial Decisions
What is Your Money Personality?
The Impact of Social Media on Financial Wellness
Finding Your Rhythm with a Side Hustle and Making it Your Full-Time Career
What is Your Financial Rhythm? Exploring the Paths to Success?
The Five Money Musts

Two practical sessions on the agenda also created a lot of buzz and gave the youth an opportunity to win prizes. The YOLO Treasure Hunt took participants on an expedition around St. John’s to collect clues and complete challenges about The Five Money Musts. The Money Jam, was an exciting concert that featured original songs created and performed by the youth. Under the tutelage of Dyalekt, who is a rapper, poet and playwright, participants created beats and inspirational lyrics to characterize their relationship with money. The winners of The Money Jam was the group TSC (Taliki, Shavorn and Ciara). were selected from a panel of local judges: local performer Laurena Davis, Marion Byron, Music Educator and renown entertainer, King Bankers.

“The Money Jam was created as a platform for the youth to sow seeds of hope, using “rhythms and rhymes” and other forms of creative expression to change the way that they typically think about money. We were able to convey that finances affect more than just their wallets but can also give them skills to survive. They really enjoyed this creative process and some of the financial lessons that they learned, “ Dyalekt said.

CEO of SFCG, Megan Samuel-Fields believes that urgent action is needed to address financial literacy. She was pleased with the level of peer networking that provided the youth with new knowledge and tools to reset their financial future. She hopes to get an even bigger turnout next year, as word spreads about this innovative approach to financial education.

According to a recent report from the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, many residents in the region lack understanding of the most effective ways to save, budget, invest or borrow money.

“We recognize that our youth will be the main stakeholders in the future economy and that they represent the hope of our country. The team at SFCG is committed to doing our part to help break the cycle of financial illiteracy. We want to start with our youth and find ways to change their money mindset,” said Megan Samuel-Fields.

This highly anticipated conference would not be possible without the generous support of sponsors:

Citizenship by Investment Unit
Anjo Wholesale
First Caribbean Bank
James and Maginley
PhotoGenesis and Julees
Lilac Scents
Townhouse Mega Store
Antigua Home and Discount Center
Big Banana

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