Monday, April 24, 2017

A Whole Village Getting Through "The Process"

Story and Photo By DeLon M. Stradford, American Mentor

AMWS, April 22, 2017, Cleveland, OH – Today, when someone asked me if "I  believe I can achieve whatever I believe I can achieve?”  I answer,  "yes," without hesitation. 

This caring adult ran into a few bumps in the road, especially in meeting and overcoming the challenge, "Say it with enthusiasm; Put an exclamation point behind it."  Or, as my American Mentor said to me, "Whatever you do, do it with enthusiasm, or get out the way of somebody who has enthusiasm."

After a year-long journey through trial and error,  I'm now looking at the recipe for success both behind and ahead.

There are multiple layers in any profitable enterprise.  I have found at least three, perhaps four, in the process known as "Money-n-the-Bank.  The way I see it,  achievement, belief in that achievement, the ability to achieve sums up the challenge for any caring adult of a new Youth Achiever to "be or not to be."

Three layers answered the question for me.  "I can" now serves as the root, embedded in the foundation, which deems my success before even initiating the work. 

The work starts before the work starts. If that doesn't make sense to you, maybe some spiritual refreshing will help.  Over the past 12 months I have personally witnessed a chance to win a chance becoming real in the person of La'Nyesha M. Stradford Wiggins.

La'Nyesha is the newest candidate for Economic Inclusion, in a national program known as THE ANNUAL YOUTH ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS.  I'm learning with La'Nyesha and a Whole Village of Caring Adults that goals need not only be conceived, but written as well. And belief in reaching those goals, should precede the goals themselves.

La'Nyesha's written goals are now in "the process" of being valued as Money-n-the-Bank, a seven-part vision of her own American future.  During "the process," twenty "caring" adults stepped up "to be or not to be" La'Nyesha's whole village.

These caring adults cared enough about La'Nyesha's future to tear away from everyday distractions that tend to hold us all back.   They have committed to, not only be interested, but to involve each other as a corporate entity.

We've all heard, "It takes a village to raise a child"; well sometimes it takes a village to inspire other members of the village, which should, in theory, motivate the village. Everyone has a part.

Raising a Whole Village is not always easy.  I found it particularly frustrating to come close to completion and then miss the deadline—despite some valiant last-minute efforts.

"All things are possible to the believer." I got up, dusted my hurt feelings off and got busy turning my sour lemons into lemonade.   As a small business owner, I get it!  TIME IS MONEY.  Time waits for no one, therefore we should never wait for time. Make time….. “GET IT DONE!”

This year, La'Nyesha M. Stradford-Wiggins is a winner!   She has written seven goals which I believe YouthUSA will value as Money-n-the-Bank.  Her spiritual, physical, social, financial, educational, professional, and recreational goals are being shared via La'nyesha's YouthUSA Fellowship, a special Facebook group set up for the Whole Village.

La'Nyesha will be calling on the Whole Village to complete the FDIC MoneySmart Financial Literacy course to help her bank the first $500 toward her financial goal.

Now that she has raised a Whole Village,  La'Nyesha is well on her way to becoming a YouthUSA Economic Beneficiary with all rights and responsibilities.  Her next challenge, with the help of key advisors will be to make sure her friends and their friends also raise a village.  It's one thing to say you want to help youth or you want to help poor people be less poor.  It's a whole new opportunity when you see yourself in that vision becoming real.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

7.6 million American children unbanked?

YouthUSA Economic Beneficiaries can bank $500 or more
when your Whole Village completes FDIC Money Smart CBI
By Eric Stradford, U.S. Marine Corps, Retired
AMWS April 19, 2017, Atlanta -- If you’ve been distracted by national demands for transparency, you may miss one opportunity for bi-partisan engagement. Representatives Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Joyce Beatty (D-OH), co-chair the Financial and Economic Literacy Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives. In case you missed it in national news reports, April is National Financial Literacy Month. 
YouthUSA has called on the bank that holds its money and the agency that insures it to PAY ATTENTION! YouthUSA is looking to a few good professionals, employed by our bank and government agencies like FDIC, for a little help with low income Americans hoping to be less poor.
“This week in the news, the temporal economy of former NFL star Aaron Hernandez allegedly ended in suicide.  Hernandez played for the New England Patriots as a tight end and in 2013 had an estimated net worth of $8 million.  Since they’re talking about it in the news, we figured a life’s lesson in financial literacy might be appropriate,” said Stephanie A. Stradford, CEO for Youth Achievers USA Institute.
We’ve all heard the axiom, TIME IS MONEY.  Winners at YouthUSA are reading between the lines to assess their own value as assets instead of liabilities to the American economy.  As winners, they’re applying time and money realities to goals for lifelong learning and earning.  To win, they’ll need to MAKE time and not WASTE time, USE time and not LOSE time by DOING time.
Aaron Michael Hernandez was born on November 6, 1989 in Bristol, Connecticut. He died April 18, 2017.  Two dates and a dash in between pretty much sums up his temporal economy. By 2015, Attorney John Fitzpatrick was speaking for Hernandez.  According to Fitzpatrick, Hernandez, who was convicted in April in the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd, “is low on money as his legal fees are piling up.”  Reports say Hernandez was paid for only one year of his terminated $40 million contract with the Patriots.
Despite the reported prison suicide, his former teammates of the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots visited the White House, today.  Somebody had to say something, but nobody wanted to state the obvious.  Neither Hernandez nor President Donald Trump would be releasing their federal income tax returns for the 2016 tax year.
Since so many young people desire to become instant millionaires and billionaires, perhaps it's time for us all to learn more about money instead of just spending it. Earlier this year, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) rolled out a new and improved version of Money Smart to help make financial education more accessible.  YouthUSA and other partners affiliated through the FDIC Money Smart Alliance are stepping up efforts to make business as usual a practice of the past. 
It’s been more than a decade since YouthUSA CEO Stephanie A. Walker Stradford met with FDIC’s Penny King to partner on FDIC Financial Literacy.  YouthUSA’s commitment was to promote Money Smart CBI to engage YouthUSA beneficiaries across the U.S. in financial literacy.   Mrs. Stradford traveled to churches throughout the six state Atlanta Federal Reserve Region looking for low income Americans in need of economic inclusion.   Most of the caring adults had no clue as to what Economic Inclusion meant on Our Streets, USA.
According to the 2015 FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households 7.0 percent of U.S. households were unbanked, meaning that no one in the household had a checking or savings account.
Approximately 9.0 million U.S. households, made up of 15.6 million adults and 7.6 million children, were reportedly unbanked. The most recent survey was administered in June 2015 in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau, collecting responses from more than 36,000 households. The survey provides estimates of the pro-portion of U.S. households that do not have an account at an insured institution, and the proportion that have an account but obtained (nonbank) alternative financial services in the past 12 months. The survey also provides insights that may inform efforts to better meet the needs of these consumers within the banking system.
Helping unbanked and underbanked Americans enter the economic mainstream promotes a noble thought, but as the history reveals, it’s not easy. First introduced in 1991, the Assets for Independence Act (AFIA) worked its way through several sessions of Congress, finally passing in 1998. The 105th Congress appropriated $105 million to fund IDAs over the course of 5 years. AFI was the “largest federal funder of IDA programs” awarding grants to more than 400 non-profits and government programs. More than 84,000 families received some sort of assistance from AFI through the IDA and financial education programs. Over 40% of these families have been able to “join the economic mainstream” through the purchase of assets.
The process of applying, and receiving grants can be improved by reducing administrative costs, clarifying specific sponsor organization and defining the grant process from congressional appropriation to an individual IDA.

Monday, April 3, 2017

BREAKING NEWS: Getting Money Smart

By Eric Stradford, U.S. Marine Corps, Retired
AMWS April 3, 2017, Atlanta – “Get Money Smart,” is the latest good news from Youth Achievers USA Institute.  The national 501c3 public charity shifted its LEARN-2-EARN trust into high gear this week, calling for due diligence by beneficiaries and benefactors to complete FDIC Money Smart Financial Literacy. As of January 19, 2017, the Money Smart CBI (online version) has been updated to enhance functionality and user experience, and to enable compatibility with tablet computers.   

YouthUSA sponsors LEARN-2-EARN opportunities that engage low income beneficiaries in becoming Money Smart.  It takes a whole village of caring adults to reverse cycles of economic despair and life-threatening distrust.  Some folks believe there’s still plenty of time to take corrective action.  They are the baffled majority still wondering what’s happening.

Studies show that financial education and maintaining a savings account are two major steps toward Economic Inclusion.  Based on its outreach to beneficiaries, stakeholders and board members, YouthUSA is taking a proactive approach to its philanthropic investments.

Way too many Americans last week followed conflicting reports about nothing while master manipulators continued to sow seeds of distrust. A Pew Research study measures a “great deal of confusion” by a vast majority of Americans over what is fake and what is truth.

According to a 2014 study, also by the Pew Research Center, 70.6% of the American population identified as “Christians,”  called by a name hated by haters.  They should “ know the truth…   A Savings Account  is already “within easy reach…” And there’s just enough good news on account to bless believers baffled by an overwhelming plethora of fake news.

Ignoring the facts has long been a staple of political speech. Every day, politicians perpetuating Pontius Pilate policy overstate some statistic, distort their opponents’ positions, or simply spew unsubstantiated untruths.  The incessive spinning by surrogates and pundits have, “Got me going in circles.”

Then there’s fake news, the phenomenon that is now sweeping, well, the news. Fake news is made-up stuff, masterfully manipulated to look like credible journalistic reports that are easily spread online to large audiences willing to believe the fictions and spread the word. (Politico)

YouthUSA’s alternate route to “goin in circles” is to follow the money.  We’re taught to believe the shortest distance between two points is believed to be a straight line. So why do so many Americans allow themselves to be distracted from what they know or believe they know?
Which of the following is Good News or Fake News? 

a.     Two Corinthians entered a bar, one from the right, the other from the left.  Bartender says, “What can I get for you?” The Corinthians instinctively look at each other, then to the bartender, they both respond, “BYPARTISAN-CHIPS.”  “Sorry,” replied the bartender, “haven’t served those since Nixon.

b.     Donald Trump financial worth, by his own claim was in excess of $10 billion. But Forbes calculates that his current net worth is actually $3.5 billion. That's down $200 million since before the election, largely due to slumping New York real estate values.

c.      “It is by believing in his heart that a man becomes right with God; and with his mouth he tells others of his faith, confirming his salvation,” describes a next first step toward economic inclusion.

d.     An IDA can help low income Americans be less poor.

As of January 19, 2017, the Money Smart CBI (online version) has been updated to enhance functionality and user experience, and to enable compatibility with tablet computers. The course content of the adult and young adult courses remains the same.  However, as a result of this upgrade, users will need to create new accounts to continue completing Money Smart CBI modules.

Completion of The FDIC Money Smart CBI is a YouthUSA program requirement.  All requests for financial benefits require successful completion of FDIC by the beneficiary’s Whole Village of caring adults.  Once you have collected and assembled FDIC Money Smart Certificates for your Whole Village, winners must notify YouthUSA using the YouthUSA Connect Form at