SOB green acresNearly 1,500 middle school students from Birmingham City Schools recently learned the importance of basic finances from University of Alabama at Birmingham faculty, staff and students during the national Teach Children To Save event.

Students from Green Acres Middle School, Huffman Middle School, Inglenook K-8 School, Phillips Academy, Smith Middle School, Wilkerson Middle School and Wylam K-8 School participated in the event, which supported Financial Literacy Month.

Faculty, staff and students from UAB’s Collat School of Business served as ambassadors for the Institute for Financial Literacy, whose mission is built upon community outreach efforts such as this event. The Institute’s ambassadors went into each of the seven participating schools and taught lessons that sought to lay the foundation for savings fundamentals for the students.

“It’s so crucial that young people understand the basics of finance and savings at an early age,” said Stephanie Yates, Ph.D., associate professor of finance in the Collat School of Business and director of UAB’s Institute for Financial Literacy. “The more they understand now, the more prepared they will be to face their financial futures.”

The ambassadors facilitated two different lessons — “Double or Nothing” and “Saving for a Sunny Day.” The “Double or Nothing” lesson showed students the difference between simple and compound interest, and students learned to realize realistic rates of return based on those principles. Through the “Saving for a Sunny Day” lesson, the students worked in groups to make a series of hypothetical choices while recording the financial outcome of each choice. This lesson culminated in students’ evaluating whether or not their decisions provided them with enough money to participate in a hypothetical, unplanned outing.

Yates also taught lessons in Selma City Schools the day prior to the Teach Children To Save event in Birmingham.

“This was an exciting event that involved our entire school, from professors to students to office staff,” said Eric Jack, Ph.D., dean of the Collat School of Business. “Everyone pitched in and volunteered to go into our community schools and teach important financial lessons that will have a lasting impact on our community. By applying what they teach and learn at UAB in their own classes, they were able to give back to the young people in our city. I couldn’t be more proud of their leadership and their service.”