On November 5th, HCHS hosted a financial planning workshop for scholars and parents. This event was made possible through a partnership between Hiawatha’s Community Engagement team and CLUES (Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio). CLUES has been working with the U of M Extension to adapt this financial planning curriculum, ensuring that it is culturally-relevant and accessible to young people. When Raquel Gudiel, Early College Seminar Teacher, learned of this opportunity, she was eager to encourage her students and their parents to attend.

The 9am-4pm workshop covered many topics, including:

  • Financial values and how they impact our decision-making.
  • The importance of creating a budget and learning how to manage it.
  • What is credit? How is it used and how do you establish good credit?
  • An overview of various types of financial institutions.
  • Accessing and paying for college: Long-term benefits associated with college graduation, costs of different institutions (community college, public and private universities), federal and state financial aid, the MN DREAM Act for undocumented students, corporate, private, and school-based scholarships, options for obtaining college credit while still in high school, such as PSEO* and Advanced Placement (AP) courses.

Thanks to Ms. Gudiel’s efforts, thirteen scholars and fourteen parents participated in the workshop. “The element of the workshop that most appealed to me was it’s bi-generational approach,” said Family Engagement Manager Shannon Gavin. “Too often young people are given information at school – for example about the college application process, but there aren’t any formal opportunities for parents to learn about the topic. This event resolved that challenge by bringing parents and scholars together to learn about a topic that’s critically important to the entire family.” Maria Quito, mother of ninth grader Erick Guallpa, reflected on the workshop, saying: “My son is just in his first year of high school and he’s my eldest, so we’ve never been through this before. I’m so grateful that I’m starting to learn all of this now, while we still have some time to plan. I hope Hiawatha Academies can continue to offer programs like this, because I think there are a lot of families that would really benefit from it, especially as our kids get closer to graduation.”

Photo: Parents and their children with certificates of completion. The entire group gathers together with instructors Antonio Alba Meraz, University of Minnesota Extension, (far left); David Soto and Alejandro Valenzuela Jr., (2nd and 3rd from left, back row); and Cesar Orjuela, (grey suit back row, left of center), of CLUES.

*PSEO – Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) is a program that allows 10th-, 11th- and 12th-grade students to earn college credit while still in high school, through enrollment in and successful completion of college-level courses.