Day on Bay
“I’ll do a backflip if you blow my socks off.” Vince, dressed in business clothes, takes off his glasses. He stands ready. He’s waiting for our group to cheer. “When you believe, you WILL ACHIEVE!” The ceiling panels vibrate with the voices of 125 Grade 8 students from four of DAREarts’ high-priority schools in the TDSB.
Up and over he goes.
The applause that follows is repeated again and again this afternoon, in a series of lectures and workshops that address monetary issues. This was the brainchild of Rhiannon Traill, president and CEO of the Jr. Economic Club of Canada. The club empowers young Canadians “by giving them the tools to better understand money management and personal finance.” DAREarts Founder, Marilyn Field saw a wonderful opportunity to bridge arts with financial literacy. She approached Rhiannon for a special Day on Bay for DAREarts elementary schools. Rhiannon generously agreed, and sponsored the entire day.
Earlier in the morning, they had visited the Toronto Stock Exchange. They all come from vastly different economic and social areas, making their way through vastly different challenges. But they have one goal: to learn how to have the confidence to manage their own financial lives from their early teens.
They learned about “good debt, (student loans, borrowing for a business) bad dept, (money to buy stuff and once that money’s spent, it’s gone forever) The pitfalls of credit cards and how to start saving NOW to be a millionaire when you’re retired. They played a “Life Game” board game that addressed things like “Stuff happens” and “I want a house”. They talked about set-backs and how to overcome them.
One of the lecturers was Laura Ferreira, a stroke and aneurism survivor, now retired, who was stricken three years ago in the midst of a successful career. It was poignant hearing a woman in her mid years telling young people to “ Hurry Up and Slow Down”. This was a sobering yet joyfully cautionary tale about finding balance in your life. But that, if you start now, you can achieve anything.
This, in the context of an audience of young people who come from difficult life challenges, is profound. These kids, eleven stories up from the hustle and dust of construction in the financial district, were told that they are valued. They are our future economy. And they are EXCELLENT!