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Money Smart. Money Information, Money Education

Help us help young people

Start Money Smart Workshop

Four kids make a workshop!

These classes are very interactive and include role playing.

Each class takes 1.5 to 2 hours.

  • All About Checking Accounts
  • All About Paychecks
  • Be Smart About Credit Cards
  • Paying Bills - Organizational issue, Not a Money Issue

Workshop Pricing

Special funding may be available for non-profit organizations. Contact us for more information.

Teenagers & Young Adults
Number Price per class
4 - 6 $50
7 - 11 $40
12 - 21 $35
Over 22 $30

Prices are based on number of students in attendance.

Workshops can include classes in succession or over several days.

What's been going on...

Start Money Smart is on its way to becoming a Non-Profit Organization!

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has approved Start Money Smart as a corporation completing one of the first steps on the road to a Non-Profit Organization. What is the official purpose of this corporation? As submitted to the State...

This corporation is organized exclusively for educational and research purposes, more specifically to provide products and services to help empower the community in regards to financial literacy. This service will be provided by focusing on the following tasks:

  1. To expose our communities, through financial literacy workshops, to an understanding that the accumulation of wealth does not teach financial management skills. Ultimately to empower individuals in the area of personal finance in order to improve the economy as a whole.
  2. To design, maintain and deliver effective financial literacy curricula that focus on engaging and interacting with its audience, to ultimately help our community get a better understanding of the daily tasks necessary to manage personal finance.
  3. To research, collect and organize information related to managing financial data that could be used as a resource for other organizations as well as individuals making decisions regarding financial literacy matters.
  4. To create products and tools, such as spreadsheets, games, and learning kits, that can be used to help people manage their personal finances, as well as learn skills necessary to educate individuals in the area of financial literacy.
  5. To partner with individuals, organizations, and educationally-focused groups that maintain a vested interest in empowering and educating young people and adults in order to collectively accomplish our said goals.
  6. To do everything necessary, suitable, convenient or proper for corporations organized under Chapter 180 of the General Laws of Massachusetts, either alone or in collaboration with or by entering into partnership with any other entity, association, organization or institution, to accomplish any of the purposes or objectives established for this corporation.

What's coming up...

Start Money Smart works at building an Advisory Board

Jameel Webb-Davis has recognized the difference between a Non-Profit Organization with good intentions and a Non-Profit Organization that really makes a difference can be an excellent Advisory Board.

Nearly half of chief executives find it very or somewhat difficult to recruit board members, according to BoardSource's Nonprofit Governance Index 2007. The top reason it is so difficult? People simply do not have the time.

There are so many demands on our lives: work, family, volunteering, exercise, hobbies, friends, even sleep. People are trying to find some balance in their lives and burning the candle at both ends is not a good choice," says Outi Flynn, director of the BoardSource Knowledge Center. "Some individuals already serve on several boards and simply can't - and shouldn't - fit another board into their schedules."

Start Money Smart's Advisory Board requires one meeting per quarter. We feel the priority is to make sure the goals for that meeting are clearly defined beforehand, and the meeting stays on track to be as productive as possible.

What candidates make good contributors to the Advisory Board for Start Money Smart? People who completely understand our passion for helping citizens become more financially literate. But we're also looking for Board Members with specific skills. Jameel's goal is to NOT be the smartest one in the room! We're looking for Advisory Board members that have skills in the following areas:

  • Marketing
  • Legal
  • Accounting
  • Legislation
  • Education
  • Non-Profit Organizations

We've already approached several candidates and look forward to having our first quarterly meeting early in 2008.

Quick Links...


I hope this issue finds everyone happy and healthy and ready for a brand new year.

Are we thinking about New Year's resolutions? Could they be the standards - exercise more, eat better, save more money?

Standard themes rang through every workshop offered over the last few months:

  • Having money will not teach you how to manage it.
  • Paying bills is not a money issue, it's an organizational issue.
  • Financial literacy is more than the accumulation of wealth.

Hopefully, as the economy slows, more emphasis will be placed on understanding how to manage what we have.

All the workshops over the last two months sure kept me busy. Want to know how they went? Check out the details below!

Workshops, workshops, galore...

Haverhill High School

The Violence, Intervention & Prevention (VIP) group at Haverhill High School asked SMS to return for another 4-week workshop throughout November and December. The workshop went really well although the attendance was low. Not to lack of interest though as SMS has been asked to return in January. The VIP coordinators need additional help in ensuring all students are informed and reminded about the classes from week to week. So SMS will be more pro-active by creating and distributing the advertising to the VIP kids to ensure as many students as possible attend!

Salvation Army

The Life Skills program offered by the Salvation Army in Haverhill asked SMS to talk to young adults about Money Myths. Their program already includes information on several topics to help teens recognize important skills to live a productive and healthy life, but financial literacy is not part of that! Hopefully funding can be obtained to help SMS return to offer a more extensive workshop that covers other specific topics on financial literacy.

Haverhill Area Healthy Families

This program works with young parents to ensure they're provided the information needed to raise a healthy family. SMS did three classes covering Money Myths, Credit Cards, and Checking Accounts. It was a fun workshop as many of the parents brought their little ones. The program is offered annually and SMS is hoping to be asked back next year.

Eridania's birthday

What a wonderful event! Eridania had a birthday party that was more than about a celebration of her birth - it was about empowering her friends and family. She invited a spokeperson from the Women's Health Network to speak on breast cancer awareness. She also invited SMS to speak to everyone on financial literacy. It was a wonderful celebration full of good food, good people, wonderful music and great information. Way to go Eridania!

Start Money Smart workshop in Medford

So many parents express a real interest in helping their kids become more financially literate, and they're not sure how to begin. A local Malden mother took the initiative. She gathered seven teens together and we had a wonderful workshop right out of a home in Medford. Over two four-hour days, we covered Checking Accounts, Paychecks, Credit Cards and Money Myths. Comments from the teens afterwards - "You should keep doing this, because you don't talk like a real teacher," and "I think I'm smarter than almost everyone I know!"

Crittenton Women's Union

Crittenton offers a wonderful program helping women give their dreams a chance and get a FRESH START on managing their finances by participating in this 5 week course. SMS has been asked to teach this course twice now, and has really enjoyed it. More workshops are scheduled for the future, and SMS looks forward to helping these women find all the financial power they know is within themselves.

St. Mary's Women & Children's Center

Financial literacy is a great addition to the Women @ Work program offered within St. Mary's center. Plans are in place to return to the center in 2008 and continue providing financial literacy information to the women in this course. Apparently they really enjoyed the workshop as one woman wrote, "She's great, very knowledgeable, very interesting. I learned a lot. She needs her own show!"

Natick High School's parents

A teacher at Natick High School who represents the METCO kids in that district asked SMS to come and speak to the student's parents at one of their meetings. This was a great opportunity to not only get a great financial literacy message out to parents, but to also explain to the parents what will be taught to their kids at the student workshop scheduled several days later. Regardless of weather, there was a great turnout and the parents really enjoyed the session. As one parent wrote, "This was really good. I learned a lot and feel as though I can use what I learned to my life as well as my family."

Natick High School students

One of the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa, cooperative economics, was explored at Natick High School by asking SMS to talk to the METCO students regarding financial literacy. It was a fun, energetic group of over 20 teens that expressed a lot of interest in the topics. The students learned check writing skills by "buying" items. They also learned the importance of tracking your spending yourself - you can't just rely on the bank to tell you how much money you have! It was a great program, and SMS is looking forward to additional programs at Natick High for other students.