The Study on Persistent Poverty in the South conducted by The University of Georgia’s Initiative on Poverty and the Economy concluded that Georgia was at the heart of the region of persistent poverty. Randolph County and the seven surrounding counties are among the poorest in the nation and rank at the bottom of the counties in the state as persistent poverty counties according to The 2007 Georgia County Guide. Of the 7,466 people who live in Randolph County, 2,070 live in poverty and this includes 36.9% of the children under the age of eighteen. Georgia suffers from one of the top bankruptcy rates in the nation as well. Moreover, the saving rate in the United States is essentially zero because those saving are cancelled out by those who are in debt. These facts make it clear that there is a need for Financial Literacy Education across the nation, but more specifically in the southwest corner of Georgia.
In the course of the year when the 4-H curriculum centered around Financial Literacy and meetings were held in 4th, 5th and 6th grade classes, it became evident that the children had little or no knowledge or understanding of money management nor possessed the skills. Therefore, the purpose of this effort will be to teach financial literacy skills to youth, engage youth in the process and expose them to opportunities for higher education outside of their county. Research has documented that the two key factors in moving an individual out of poverty are education and positive relationships. The goal of this grant will be to offer youth the opportunity to begin developing both.
An adult led team will be partnered with a youth led team to plan the assemblies, recreation and most facility related details. Adults will be 4-H agents or program assistants employed by the Southwest District and the youth will be State Youth Financial Literacy Ambassadors and local area youth that have completed the program and qualified as Teen Leaders. Youth will be involved in all levels and stages of the planning and implementation of the conference. Youth with characteristics of the target audience will be selected to be involved in leadership roles. They will also be responsible for presiding and operating all assemblies and most of the recreation at the conference. The student coordinator of Andrew Serves, a student civic outreach program at Andrew College, will also be added to the planning team to encourage interaction between the 4-H’ers and the Andrew College students.
The purpose of this conference, “Where’s Your Pot of Gold?” is to assist in breaking the continuous cycle of poverty that exists in our area by educating our youth. The goal is to provide the resources needed for the youth to realize the importance of an education after high school, develop consumer skills, identify their money personality and to emphasis the importance of saving. "Where's Your Pot of Gold?" conference will be held in Randolph County, one of the most financially challenged counties of the state to ensure inclusion of the intended as well as being in the center of the eight counties. The conference will be held at Andrew College, a local private two year college, with accomodating facilities. A keynote speaker will begin the two day event designed for 4th, 5th and 6th graders during an opening assembly. Five interactive classes on the subject of financial literacy will be planned along with tours of the campus to introduce them to college life, organized recreation and free time. The conference is being planned for 150 to be housed overnight at the college which will be a first time experience for the majority of the youth. All expenses plus a goody bag will be paid for with grants.