Submitted by: Josef
View Their Pitch
The Big Idea
In one paragraph (250 words or less), succinctly describe your Idea and why it should be chosen by our judges as the Next Big Jewish Idea.
Kesef is a comprehensive financial education program designed to teach teens to manage their finances, build credit, and prepare for life as young adults. Since in a traditional school setting there is no focus on personal financial management, Kesef believes that by helping teens establish healthy financial habits in the earlier years of their professional lives will enforce them to take positive action and start their journey on the right foot. By getting involved with a program like Kesef, these students will learn to manage a budget, gain financial understanding of saving accounts and interest rates, and be able to analyze benefits of loans, and much more. Another very important attribute that they will be learning is the importance of philanthropy and giving back to the community. This program would be mainly offered to juniors and seniors in high school because they are at an age where they will be making a lot of decisions that will impact the rest of their lives. Most of these teens will soon be applying to colleges and will need bank accounts, credit cards, and the oh-so-dreaded loans. This program would involve workshops in:
- Creating a budget
- Balancing a check book
- Savings and Interest rates
- Credit Reports
- Credit cards, debit cards, credit history
- Loans for education
- Car payments
- Importance of savings accounts…etc.
Why Is This Idea Unique or Innovative?
Thus far in the current Los Angeles Unified School District, such a financial education program barely exists and the bare minimum they teach is some surface values of financial stability and debt. Even worse than that is the situation at our Jewish Schools in the Los Angeles area. These Jewish Schools lack any sort of educational program where teens would be taught fundamentals of personal monetary responsibility. This program would be made with the specific core values of the Jewish community in mind and Kesef would take on the responsibility to teach every Jewish teenager in Los Angeles about the topics that were mentioned earlier and ensure the success of the future generation.
Why Is This a "Big" Idea?
A large number of people lack the education and knowledge needed to be able to make the correct decisions regarding the obligations that they are committing themselves to. Sadly by the time they have gained enough knowledge of what to do and how to manage their money they are already too far into the debt boat and have ruined their credit. Not being able to manage their debt and obligations correctly generally leads people into bankruptcy at a very early age. As we have seen young Americans now have the second highest rate of bankruptcy, indicating that this generation is more likely to file bankruptcy as young adults as were their parent’s generation at the same age. Kesef’s objective is to preempt such cases by getting involved with high school students and coaching them into developing skill sets to promote responsible financial practices.
Financial hardship is something that affects a significant amount of people and if correct steps are not taken it will only get worse as time goes on. We have all seen in the recent years how the economic crisis has affected the Jewish community as a whole. Educating the future Jewish generation about finance and philanthropy is the responsibility of everyone in the community. With the help of an organization such as the Jewish Federation and promotion of a financial education program like Kesef, we can insure that our community will have the needed financial strength to support itself by members within the community and a more successful community as a whole which would benefit everyone around us.
One of the reasons why the Jewish community in Los Angeles is financially strong could be attributed to the fact that the many Jews who were migrating here had the necessary solid foundation to know how to manage their money and accumulate it in a way that would benefit their family and community as a whole. The new generation of teenagers in Los Angeles, for the most part are reaping what their parents have sown. It seems like a lot of people are falling into the American path of accumulating debt and not knowing how to pay it back.
A solid financial education program for these adolescents of the new generation would ensure that the future generations of the Jews in Los Angeles would be as successful, if not more successful, than their parents. By establishing themselves on the right track, they can take everything they have from the previous generation and take it one step further. Kesef’s goal is to educate and teach these youngsters the right steps in order for each of them to be one of the strong foundations of their community and instead of being in a situation that they would need help from their community, be part of the group that would help and give back to their Jewish community through philanthropic causes.