Family Foundations, a local nonprofit organization that helps families and individuals achieve financial and emotional strength, organized its eighth annual Jacksonville Wi$e Money Week May 12-18.
One of the first events of the week was a breakfast the morning of May 13 at the Jessie Ball duPont Center in downtown Jacksonville. Attended by Family Foundation’s board of directors and staff, partners at Junior Achievement, local banks and corporations, civic volunteers, and others, the breakfast set in motion a series of events designed to teach responsible money management and other important life skills to individuals of varying ages and income levels.
Co’Relous Bryant, a partnership development manager at Rethreaded and Jacksonville native, served as the keynote speaker at the breakfast. Bryant reflected on his childhood and the wise money management of his mother, who worked at Kentucky Fried Chicken and imparted in him the importance of saving, discipline, planning and making the best of your resources.
Based on his life experiences, he also shared three F’s that shape his financial thinking, including foundation, freedom and future. Lastly, he spoke about Rethreaded, an organization that supports survivors of human trafficking locally and globally through business. Many of the survivors, Bryant said, have never made a budget or had a debit card or banking account. When provided with basic financial tools and the knowledge that an organization such as Family Foundations can impart, he said the transformation is significant.
In addition to Bryant’s address, the breakfast featured an awards presentation for a kids’ essay contest that focused on the correlation between financial strength and positive quality of life. Sixth-grade student Silas Turner of James Weldon Johnson College Preparatory Middle School and eighth-grade student Shi-Ann Peterson of Arlington Middle School received the two awards for the contest.
The breakfast concluded with the presentation of three other awards. LaTesha Jackson received the 1st Time Homebuyer award after working with Family Foundations to ultimately persevere through financial difficulty and realize her dream of home ownership. Leandra Members received the Asset Builder award after working with Steps 2 Success, Florida’s first financial opportunity center, to address a longstanding debt and attain stable employment with a possible move to a management position. Steps 2 Success received the Wi$e Money Corporate Award.
Following the breakfast and throughout the week, volunteers fanned out across the community to offer a variety of financial education programs, classes and activities, all structured to reach individual age groups and income levels. Partnering with Junior Achievement, Wi$e Money Week included instruction in 17 area schools. The sessions throughout the week were free of charge and open to all.