• Milagros S. Johnson

Fall is in Full Swing

Summer 2019 is over. Schools are back in full swing and the weather is getting cooler. Now here come the fun fall activities.

This past Saturday I participated in my very first Craft & Vendor Fair at Bashista Orchards in Southampton, MA where I met many wonderful people, including brilliant children.

On Sunday, my best friend and greatest supporter, Emma represented me at a community Back to School Celebration in Springfield’s North End. I was thrilled to hear that over 50 children were introduced to financial literacy through my children’s book.

First, let me tell you about Saturday’s event. Those who came to my vendor table approached me with excitement and enthusiasm. They praised my taking the initiative to write a children’s book on financial literacy and encouraged me to write more books. Many of the individuals who made purchases were either current or retired teachers of all grade levels. Everyone was extremely encouraging, and I was moved with some of their kindest remarks:

“I wish I had learned about financial literacy as a child”

“We need to get this book in all schools”

“The illustrations are beautiful and tell a lovely story.”

“I’m keeping this book for myself!”

The highlight of my day was watching children and adults attempt to guess the number of pennies inside a counting jar in hopes of winning the raffle prize. Many of them stared into the jar thinking they could count the pennies, while others lifted the jar trying to guess the number based on its weight. I repeatedly emphasized to them that,“Every penny counts!” Meghan of Southampton came the closest with her guess and won the prize. She was happy to have $5.19 for her baby in her new counting jar.

As for Sunday’s successful event, the feedback I received was that the children were receptive to learning about financial literacy. They were eager to learn of ways they could earn an allowance and begin saving their money in the bank for a rainy day. Community leaders are now coming together to bring financial literacy to schools. I’m thrilled that the conversation has been started.

While I continue spreading financial literacy in schools, homes and communities, I urge you to start having discussions with your children as early as possible about earning an allowance and saving their money. Children need to develop healthy money habits so they can have a financially-stable future.

This year several more states began mandating financial literacy courses in high schools, although I believe it should begin as early as elementary school. Financial literacy can be introduced as part of the school’s math curriculum. Children can learn and improve their math skills by counting money. These are lifelong financial lessons they will carry in their pockets and wallets. However, until this happens, let’s collect pennies and have fun counting them with the children.

As children we all had big dreams and aspirations but not all of us dreamed of being financially successful. We often hear children say, “I want to be rich when I grow up,” however I often wonder if they really know what it entails. Let's culminate a financially-literate generation for a better future for all! In the meantime, we need to keep it basic and simple: Teach children the importance of earning an allowance and saving money. After all, there’s more to be gained with financial literacy!

A special thank you to Emma, Bashista Orchards, the North End community leaders and organizers, and to each and every one of you for your support and allowing me to bring financial literacy to your homes and schools. Please remember to continue to tell the children that, “Every penny counts!”


Milagros S. Johnson

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©2019 by Milagros S. Johnson