Thank you for making our latest event, Kickball and Pizza, a success!
A Letter from SIF Board Chair, Brandon Croxton
I truly believe that my four year tenure can be summed up in 2 themes, “Innovation and Overcoming Adversity.” While preparing to host our 5th annual signature event, March Market Madness the Coronavirus Pandemic began and we were forced to cancel our major fundraising event. Shortly thereafter, SIF made the decision to end their relationship with Johns Hopkins University. There were many discussions with Rebecca and the Executive Committee on whether SIF would have the ability to continue.
We were able to negotiate a separation from JHU and we were on our own for the first time in our organization’s history. In order to survive, we would have to change the way we operated. Our board members started by initiating and developing our Superheroes’ Club. This would introduce SIF to a new generation of donors, volunteers, and board members. With the pandemic still not allowing large gatherings, we needed to be able to fundraise without having our signature fundraising event. We started new fundraisers, such as our trivia nights and cooking classes.
We also needed to innovate our services. Due to the pandemic and the inability to meet in schools in person, many schools were forced to discontinue their relationship with us. We had no choice but to make adjustments to our curriculum. First, we digitized our curriculum to make it entirely online and through the use of video. Next, we translated the curriculum into Spanish so we would be able to reach Maryland’s Spanish speaking students. And now, we are converting our curriculum into a version cater to young adults. These changes will allow us to reach an even greater population and help us to give knowledge to more underserved communities and hopefully contribute to breaking the cycle of poverty for so many people.
Today, Stocks in the Future is in its best financial situation in years and is poised to grow. Our primary mission will always be to serve our middle school students, and we are poised to grow to more communities. For the first time, SIF has expanded outside of Maryland’s borders by entering middle schools in Virginia. We hope to be partnering with other nonprofits to provide our services to adults and teens. We will of course continue our mission to help middle school students learn the importance of investing.
Stocks in the Future would not be here today without all of the help from our donors, volunteers, and sponsors. I would also like to thank all of our board members for their hard work and dedication. Without your efforts, none of these successes would be possible. Your commitment, wisdom, selflessness and hard work was the key to everything that SIF was able to accomplish. Also, the efforts of the Executive Committee, KC, Nick, Preshant, Amir and Melody were invaluable and helped SIF navigate through all of the challenges these last few years. Most importantly, I would like to thank our Executive Director, Rebecca Lange-Thernes. Your ability to implement so many different initiatives, while overseeing the day-to-day operations of the organization is a marvel. I am so impressed with everything you do.
Finally, I want to wish the best to our new incoming Board President, Melody McCrea. I got to know Melody a few years ago and was so excited when she joined the board. She brings a great energy and is a dynamic leader who will take SIF to even higher levels. I can’t wait to see all your successes to come!
Congratulations to SIF's 2023 Community Service Award Winner, Nicole Courtney
SIF Presenters are a Valuable Asset
This third full week in July, New Song Academy hosted SIF’s final guest speaker of the year, Catrice Keys. New Song’s school year ends in July and that gave us a chance to invite Catrice Keys of MECU to visit a group of 6th graders. Catrice works as a financial advisor and with that background, she knew exactly what to share and how to successfully engage with the class. Says Ms. Jackson, the classroom teacher, “The value of having guest speakers from the finance industry visit SIF students is that students are motivated to ask questions that they wouldn’t ask me as their classroom teacher, about specific topics in the industry”. For example, yesterday students asked Ms. Catrice about companies that they should invest in and were interested to possibly have access to information that others wouldn’t. Ms. Catrice did an excellent job being relatable. She introduced new vocabulary but also spoke in a language that the 6th graders could understand. She didn’t bombard them with jargon, but probed them to use information they already knew, to make connections to what she introduced. The students definitely engaged with Ms. Catrice, and we hope to learn more from her in the future.”
We promise all our SIF partner schools that once a year, a representative from the financial community will visit their class. Before the visit, we meet with the presenter to discuss what the class has learned in our curriculum and where they are headed next. Guest speakers have the freedom to create their own presentation, or we have some PowerPoints and other activities that they may choose to use as well. Each visit is a success because students learn about career opportunities they might have never thought about and they get a prospective from a professional that’s so valuable. Some classes develop ongoing relationships with their guest presenter and the relationship evolves throughout the year. This year we’ve had guests from PNC, T Rowe Price, Brown Advisory, Lombard Securities, NASA, M&T Bank, and Ameriprise Financial, just to name a few. We are always looking for volunteers to work with our students. If you are interested or know someone interested, please contact SIF’s Executive Director at [email protected].
Pictured below is Catrice Keys presenting at New Song Academy.
Congratulations to SIF's 2023 Teacher of the Year, Mr. Roger Lyons
Pictured is Mr. Lyons receiving his award during our May fundraising event.
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