Students Get a Financial Jolt Checking out Chevy Volt

Michael Fialkowski

Teen College Campers Learn A-B-Cs of Money

            “I thought that this was just a boring class that my parents put me in—but it’s a lot better than I thought it would be,” said Remington Hill, of the Financial Skills for Teens camp held through the College of Southern Maryland’s Kids’ and Teen College. The 12-year-old learned about a wide range of financial skills essential for living responsibly and independently from Christine Parker, CFP (Certified Financial Planner), personal finance writer, instructor and president of Parker Financial, LLC in La Plata. Parker was named one of the greater Washington, D.C. metro area’s ‘Top Financial Planners’ by Washingtonian magazine in 2010.

The five-day camp for children ages 11 to 14 years old, explored a wide range of financial skills. Lessons included an examination of the basics of financial management, from understanding credit card agreements and credit scores to financing college. Students were introduced to car financing and lease agreements, federal and state taxes, health, auto and life insurance policies, as well as the importance of discipline and organization, particularly as it relates to financial management.

In addition to the nuts and bolts of finances, students learned about social and cultural expectations including language and dress in various social circumstances, including the job interview process.

As students were learning to compare advantages and disadvantages of hybrid cars, they were visited by Mark Barbino of Ken Dixon Auto who brought a Chevy Volt for students to check out. Sitting behind the steering wheel, Milton Somers Middle School seventh-grader Michael Fialkowski learned that there is no key or ignition switch. When a sensor chip is within three feet of the steering column the car will start with the simple push of a button.

 “This is so worth it,” Fialkowski said.

“To have a financial planner of Ms. Parker’s caliber as a Kids’ and Teen College instructor is amazing. The lessons these children learn on saving money will help set the stage for a lifetime of financial responsibility. Our hope is that they are also sharing what they learn with siblings and friends–maybe even their parents,” said CSM Youth Program Coordinator John Terlesky.