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Nearly 200 Wayne County Seniors Participate in Project CARE

Time and time again, students will ask teachers, “Why do I need to learn this?” or “How will I use this in the real world?”

Local attorney Rhett Ramsey speaks to Wayne County students about the importance of making financial decisions after they graduate high school.

Recently, Wayne County students were able to make real world connections regarding personal finances with the help of Project CARE (Credit Abuse Resistance Education). Nearly 200 Wayne County students participated in the program which provided discussion on personal financial decision making and the potential impact it could have on their future.

Forward in the Fifth and the Kentucky Bar Foundation formed a partnership six years ago that allowed high school seniors to participate in Project CARE, a financial literacy program which highlights the pitfalls and sound decision-making strategies for students as they leave the classroom and enter a new chapter in their lives.

The Wayne County event was facilitated by local attorneys Rhett Ramsey and Matt Garmon of Carroll & Turner, PSC of Monticello.

“The thing I like about this learning experience is that it uses local professionals,” said Marsha Bertram, a Wayne County High School teacher.  “Students are more likely to listen and consider the true impact when it comes from someone they may not see or hear from on a daily basis.”

During the program, students engage in conversations related to financial topics such as personal budgeting, proper use of credit and debit cards, student loans, pay-day lending, and establishing credit.

With the current federal student loan debt over $1.3 trillion and more than $700 million accrued in credit card debt, there are “teachable” moments built into this program for students to give careful thought toward making sensible financial decisions.

“I’m glad programs like Project CARE exist to educate students on subjects that aren’t part of the ordinary curriculum,” said local attorney Rhett Ramsey. “Unfortunately, too many young people make poor financial decisions; it’s my hope that our discussions during the program help some of them make better, more informed choices in their financial lives.”

Developed in 2002 by now-retired U.S. Bankruptcy Judge John Ninfo, the project has grown in popularity. From 2007 when Project CARE began in Kentucky, approximately 60 counties and more than 13,000 students in Kentucky participate annually to ensure these important issues are addressed.

Forward in the Fifth coordinates these programs in 16 Southern and Eastern Kentucky counties.

“This is meant to be the beginning of the conversation with young people on personal financial management,” said Jim Tackett, executive director of Forward in the Fifth. “A topic of this magnitude must be revisited and reinforced multiple times for it to sink in.  We are just trying to introduce critical topics and be one of the many partners sharing this important message.”

Additional Project CARE presentations will be scheduled and occur across the region in the spring semester.

For more information about Project CARE in Kentucky, visit www.careinky.org or contact Forward in the Fifth at www.fif.org or (606) 677-6000.

Forward in the Fifth, a non-profit organization and an affiliate of The Center for Rural Development, was formed in 1986 by U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers, (KY-05), and other leaders to work to reverse low education attainment levels in the Fifth Congressional District. The organization strives to engage community stakeholders to advance the value of education; serves as advocates to advance all education systems to improve educational attainment; and supports schools and stakeholders to secure needed resources to improve the quality of education within their local communities.

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