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On Wednesday, February 24th, 100 students from three Denver and Aurora Public Schools were treated to a live webinar with NBA basketball legend, Ervin Johnson, and the President and CEO of Young Americans Bank, Rich Martinez, Jr. The event was part of the Nuggets Math Hoops program and was hosted by Coach Calvin of Learn Fresh Education.
Fielding students on-point questions, Johnson and Martinez got right down to business and provided students with important financial literacy lessons around smart savings and spending decisions. Both spoke frankly about their backgrounds and shared while they grew up in loving families, their parents lived paycheck to paycheck. Both Johnson and Martinez had to learn the hard way and have worked hard to create better lives by setting goals for themselves tied to character, strong family values, and giving back.
Here are the big “nuggets” students learned:
- Have a mentor. Johnson has benefitted from the relationship of a long-time mentor who is 12 years older and has provided frank advise on distinguishing between wants and needs.
- Budgeting is the first step to savings. Martinez told students, they cannot save what they haven’t planned for. Everyone needs to have budget to know what is coming in and what is coming out. Spending matters. Martinez recognized students can spend on items that are important to them such as getting their nails done or buying video games; they just need to make sure these expenditures are part of their planned spending.
- Prepare for emergencies. Johnson reminded the students that rainy days will happen and unforeseen accidents will occur. These eventualities will require extra money and advised students to make sure they are setting aside funds.
- Have control. Martinez spoke to the importance of control and how it leads to security. He told students if they have control over their spending and savings habits would put them on a path to self-sufficiency. Control comes from understanding decision-making and delayed gratification.
Once students completed some challenging interactive questions that required them to analyze their behaviors and attitudes around money, they were treated to a wonderful surprise. Thanks to Kroenke Sports Charities and Young Americans Bank, each student received a $100 certificate to be deposited in an account at Young Americans Bank.
If you’d like to get your school involved in the NBA Math Hoops program, please contact Rebecca Wong, National Program Coordinator, Learn Fresh, at email@example.com. Or, if you’d like to learn more about bringing a Money Matters program from Young Americans Bank to your school, please contact Kelly Oster at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Born December 21, 1967 in New Orleans, Louisiana, Ervin Johnson is a retired NBA basketball player and currently a Community Ambassador for the Denver Nuggets. A 6’11”, 245-pound center, Johnson attended the University of New Orleans where he was named a third team All-American and Sun Belt Player of the Year. Johnson was selected 23rd overall by the Seattle SuperSonics in the 1993 NBA Draft. During his 13 year NBA career, he played for the Sonics, Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves and Milwaukee Bucks.
Community service has always been an important part of Johnson’s life and over his career he was involved with several NBA community initiatives. Most notably, he participated in a USO tour to Kuwait with fellow NBA players Troy Hudson and Mark Madsen in the summer of 2003. His commitment to the community earned Johnson the NBA Community Assist Award in 2003.
Johnson completed his degree at UNO during the 1996-97 NBA season and served as commencement speaker at graduation ceremonies. He also donated $100,000 to the school during that year toward the building of the Ervin Johnson Fitness Center. He currently resides in Denver.
Kroenke Sports Charities is committed to improving lives through the spirit and power of sports. We strive to serve our community through education, health and fitness initiatives, athletic programs, and direct aid, with the particular purpose of helping families, children, veterans, and the disabled. Kroenke Sports Charities provides relevant programs and support, directly and with other nonprofit organizations, to ultimately assist, encourage, and enrich the lives of those in need.
Learn Fresh makes STEM learning fun for all students through programs like NBA Math Hoops. Learn Fresh realizes access and achievement gaps in STEM education remain a persistent challenge and is committed to advancing opportunities for under-resources students to gain necessary learning and skills. Learn Fresh Education is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt company. Visit them at www.learnfresh.org