ZANESVILLE, Ohio – United Way of Muskingum, Perry, and Morgan Counties funded the Zanesville Civic League Community Center’s after school program, which is teaching children what is involved in dealing with physical money.
The Zanesville Civic League Community Center is in their second year of running the Money Smart Program. Executive Director Lisa Rooks said after United Way of M.P.M. asked the Civic League to do the pilot program they found the children had challenges with basic math skills like addition and subtraction.
“We had to start from the ground up,” Rooks said. “So we started with that and as we got through the year then we introduced money. Money is something they don’t see that quite often, because parents are more with swiping of the card.”
United Way’s Resource Development Director, Katie McNeil explained they wanted to fund this program so children could be exposed to money and learn how to use it later on in life.
“Learning the value of money and budgeting are necessary skills kids need to make good financial decisions as they transition to adulthood,” McNeil said. “Youth in our community need to acquire these skills to understand good fiscal responsibility and to learn to live within their means. As a mother, I want my kids equipped with the ability to do basic math, know the value of a dollar and to be financially responsible adults.”
“This program that they added is a very good program, because now days credit cards have taken over,” Student Mentor Kyle Johnson said. “People aren’t use to paying with coins and actual dollar bills. This program helps the kids identify money that they can use for spending.”
Johnson is a Sophomore at Zanesville High School and has attended the after school program for about ten years. Now Johnson helps the younger children as a mentor.
“I connect with them, because I’m a kid myself,” Johnson said. “I understand that they have a quiz on Friday that they’re stressing over or whatever they go through during school. I’ve felt the same thing and I’m still feeling it.”
Now with the Money Smart Program in its second year, the Civic League’s Assistant Director Adonis Brooks, has noticed just how much the children’s views on money have changed.
“First it’s a little challenging, because they don’t feel like it’s something that is needed,” Brooks said. “Once they start to see the results of the test and quizzes. They start to believe in themselves and they have a little more excitement for the ability of learning how to count change.”
The Zanesville Civic League Community Center will keep extending the program and are in contact with the children’s teachers and guidance counselors regarding the child’s work.