Financial literacy for students who need it

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — It’s one of the most important subjects that adults must learn, but far too often it’s not taught to kids in school who may need it the most.

“We’re all going to act like we have $50 to put in our account, alright? What are some of the things you need to open a bank account?” said Shadece McFadden, who was busy teaching students Friday.

It all seems pretty basic to many, but financial literacy is a lesson some special needs students at Waterbury’s State Street School have never learned. McFadden is fighting to change that, one classroom at a time.

“So when you go in they usually say ‘Hi how are you?’ You say, I want to open a bank account,” McFadden said. “Have ID, birth certificate, social security and $50.”

McFadden is a financial literacy instructor for TD Bank in Waterbury. She travels across the area teaching the fundamentals of personal finance, from halfway houses, to church halls. Friday, it was teens who plan on getting jobs soon, like Shaquile DeSouza, a 17-year-old who wants to be a video game designer.

“I’m trying to work towards getting money so I can get my driver’s permit,” DeSouza said.

Friday was the first time several students ever gave thought to bank accounts, or why they’re necessary. And that’s exactly why McFadden said she has a passion for teaching those who don’t yet know.

“They get a job. Once get a job, they get paychecks. They’re not taught how to cash the paychecks, or save or how to deposit,” McFadden said.

Part of the lesson was on bank overdraft charges, something that seems to have stuck with the students.

“If you got money in a bank account and spend overboard, every time you swipe it adds additional charges to what you paid for,” said Gigi Mejia, a 17-year-old student who was explaining overdraft charges she just learned.

If you’re interested in having a financial literacy instructor speak to your group or organization, click here.

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