Black Belt Scholars learn about financial STEAM

Published: Jul. 21, 2022 at 9:22 AM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - Nearly 200 teenagers throughout West Alabama are participating in a special STEAM summer camp.

One hundred and ninety West Alabama kids in grades 7th through 12th are participating in a special STEAM summer camp called the Black Belt Scholars program.

It has plenty of camp basics, but also focusses on financial literacy.

The campers come from Tuscaloosa, Hale Green and Sumter Counties to the campus of Stillman College four days a week.

On Wednesday, business owners talked to campers. One was a gospel recording artist who talked to the kids about marketing themselves and how to read and understand what’s in a contract.

This is an example of one of the key differences between the Black Belt Scholars and other STEM or STEAM programs. In this camp, the E can stand for entrepreneurship instead of engineering and the M isn’t just for math, but also marketing.

Scholars also learned how to balance a checkbook, what a credit score is, ways they can build a good credit history and how to avoid things like impulse shopping that could put them into unnecessary debt.

“If you don’t manage your money and you don’t become aware of credit or be aware of interest rates you can fall into the trap of poverty,” explained Marshae Madison, one of the organizers of the Black Belt Scholars program.

Black Belt Scholars also teaches the value of education. They spent a day both Shelton State Community College campuses in Tuscaloosa to hear about dual enrollment programs.

Thursday, they’ll be bussed to Tallahassee, Florida to visit Florida A&M University. The camp ends July 28th after each scholar presents a business plan to camp counselors.

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