Black Belt Scholars learn about financial STEAM

Black Belt Scholars program
Black Belt Scholars program
Published: Jul. 21, 2022 at 11:20 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 7 through 12 are participating in a special STEAM summer camp called the Black Belt Scholars program. The campers come from Tuscaloosa, Hale, Greene and Sumter counties to the campus of Stillman College four days a week.

It has plenty of camp basics, but also focuses on financial literacy. Business owners talked to campers Wednesday. 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. Students learned about dual enrollment programs at Shelton State Community College. Thursday brings a trip to Tallahassee, Fla., to visit Florida A&M University. The camp ends July 28 after each scholar presents a business plan to camp counselors.

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