Nine years ago I was challenged to find a curriculum that fit the needs of low-income people and I could not find one that was suitable. I began by creating a simple Income & Spending Worksheet, and adding meaningful activities that would help people process their own spending habits and inspire them to change. Who would guess nine years later, this curriculum would be in five versions and being utilized in ten states…Definitely not me!
As 2020 begins, I want to share with you the highlights of how Money & ME began and continues to grow. It has not been easy, and there were many times I thought of stopping, but I persevered because I knew that the curriculum was inspiring people to change how they handled their money and ultimately it was changing their lives. The Money and ME curriculum was first developed in 2011 and consisted of a Workbook, Money Kit, PowerPoint presentation, and a “Train the Trainer” guide including scripture (a Christian version.)
In 2013, a request to have a secular version written and the “WOW” Words of Wisdom Edition was created. This version is nearly identical to the Christian one. The difference is that it uses inspirational quotes to provide motivation and encouragement to the user.
The Money & ME business officially began in March 2015, after four years of testing and development. The business has been an extreme learning curve with getting copyright, trademarks, developing a website, bookkeeping, marketing, and more! I have done most of it on my own utilizing “Google” and “YouTube Videos” to guide me. I now have Edith Carreon, helping me with bookkeeping, social media, and shipping. I also have Jenny Fulton who will be helping with marketing, primarily developing articles for these emails.
Teen Edition: In 2019, after years of research and development, three more versions were launched, but the request for a teen version began in 2014. I took the question seriously and began to consider how to adapt the original curriculum to fit the needs of today’s teenagers. At the end of 2015 and on into 2016, I gave the first draft of the new edition to a church focus group to use with their young people. As the feedback came in, I made changes and revisions and then sent it out to another church for feedback. Just like the first round, I observed how the students responded to the material and adapted the material as needed. Some of the differences in the Teen Edition compared to the original one:
- Habits to Change section and the Budget Sheet are more suited to a teenager’s needs,
- Section on scholarships, grants, and financial aid,
- Activity on “How Much Do I Cost My Parents.”
Like the original editions, the Teen Version includes a workbook and kit for participants with the addition of PowerPoint slides and training materials for trainers.
El Dinero & Yo: Spanish WOW Version: In 2011, when I was first creating the program, Edith Carreon worked to translate everything into Spanish. However, as changes were made according to trainer and user feedback, the revisions to the Spanish version fell behind. Years later, in 2018, after the original editions were more firmly established, the Spanish edition soared back to priority status. After pouring hours of energy into it for most of the year, Edith completed the translation. Like the other editions, the Spanish Version includes a workbook and a money kit for participants, and a PowerPoint Guide for trainers.
The most popular edition is the Adult WOW Edition. However, organizations that are using Money & ME LOVE the fact there are other versions available to suit the people that they are inspired to help!