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September 28, 2016

Forward in the Fifth, The Center present financial literacy program to 700 high school seniors

Monticello attorney Frank Phillips talks to Wayne County High School senior Austin Shearer about how to stay out of credit card debt during a Project CARE (Credit Abuse Resistance Education) session.

Fueled by advertising specifically targeted to the spending habits of young consumers, many American teens seem to be on a non-stop buying spree.

And it doesn’t take long for young people to get over their head in financial trouble after ringing up hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in credit card debt.

Forward in the Fifth and The Center for Rural Development, in collaboration with the Kentucky Bar Foundation, local educators, and community leaders, are helping more than 700 students at five high schools in Southern and Eastern Kentucky better manage their money and become more financially responsible adults.

In May, Project CARE (Credit Abuse Resistance Education), a national financial literacy program, was presented to 2011 graduating seniors at Monticello, Wayne County, Williamsburg, Corbin, and Whitley County high schools.

The Project CARE sessions were coordinated locally by Forward in the Fifth and taught by community partners from the legal and business community.

Forward in the Fifth, a non-profit organization and an affiliate of The Center, was formed in 1986 by U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05) and community and business leaders to reverse low educational attainment levels in the Fifth Congressional District.

“Millions of adults suffer financially for decades from poor financial decisions they made as teen-agers or young adults,” Rogers said. “Thanks to Forward in the Fifth, we can educate high school students through Project CARE about some of the harsh realities of credit cards, loans, and high interest rates.

“The more we can prepare our high school students for life after graduation, the more they will be able to enjoy it without heavy financial burdens,” he added.

Forward in the Fifth worked with the Kentucky Bar Foundation and community members to recruit and train professional leaders to present Project CARE to the graduating high school seniors. The program is targeted for high school students and college freshmen who are most at risk of financial failure and are aggressively marketed by the credit card industry.

“Few topics will impact as many people as that of financial literacy,” Jim Tackett, executive director of Forward in the Fifth, said. “Acquiring the basic understanding of personal finance and its proper use determines the key to one’s future. High school students are on the verge of making some important financial decisions.”

Retired Wayne County High School guidance counselor and Project CARE teacher Hardin Phillips speaks to a class of graduating seniors at Wayne County High School.

At all five Project CARE sessions, students were presented valuable information on personal finances to better acquaint them with everything from college loans to credit card and debit use to a balanced budget.

“The CARE program is an important tool in directing young adults to begin making sound and responsible financial decisions,” Frank Phillips, an attorney with Phillips & Phillips attorneys and one of the program presenters at Wayne County High School Project CARE session, said. “It was great to be able to share this program with local high school seniors and help them prepare for their future.”

Project CARE, a personal financial literacy education outreach program, was created by U.S. federal bankruptcy Judge John C. Ninfo II, who serves the western district of New York. The program, which teaches students how to lead financially responsible, consumer debt-free lives, is offered in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

For more information on Project CARE or Forward in the Fifth, contact Jim Tackett at 606-677-6000 or email.

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