Denver Rescue Mission’s Youth Center is always looking for new ways to encourage and support families in our Bridge Transitional Program. Through homework assistance and after-school activities, the Youth Center staff looks to provide children in the program with a new sense of confidence and responsibility.
The Youth Store has proven to be an effective way to motivate children of all ages to work hard on their studies and to also treat others with kindness. Store Bucks can be earned through good behavior, school attendance, participating in tutoring, completing assignments, and volunteering. The incentive store teaches money management, with “pay days” every Friday.
Teaching Money Management for Kids
Children can either choose to spend their earnings on a variety of toys and school supplies or can choose to save for the following weeks. Joseph Bermingham, the Youth Coordinator, considers the Youth Store to be a great success, especially in terms of encouraging children to save.
“One of our case managers was asked by a parent if we were teaching their kids to save. They asked because one day while they were shopping at Walmart for groceries, the mom asked if her son wanted to eat at Subway. The son replied, ‘No, we have enough food and should save it.’ What a great example of how we’re trying to help these kids learn money management skills!”
According to the Council for Economic Education, “Only a third of U.S. states require high school students to take a personal finance class in order to graduate.”* This lack of education regarding healthy spending and saving habits or even building a simple budget can create greater financial distress later in life, which we often see in those who come to us for help. While adults in our programs also receive financial management education, their children learn similar concepts through the Youth Store.
1) Shop, but not ‘till you drop!
The Youth Store is only open for shopping once a week, which teaches the kids that it’s not necessary (or a good idea) to shop every day.
2) Saving makes the experience better
When kids save their Store Bucks for one week, they earn five extra bucks, teaching them the importance of saving and building interest.
3) Be responsible with your spending
If the kids’ accounts drop below five Store Bucks, they can’t buy anything that week.
4) Keep track of your bank account
The kids can check their “receipts” so that they know what they’ve bought in the past and how many Store Bucks they have left.
Ready to Help Support the Youth Store?
Through teaching basic money management, the Youth Center is helping kids develop financial capability, which is knowing how to spend money wisely. According to Youth.gov, “Financial capability is an effective way to help youth, no matter the circumstances, avoid common financial vulnerabilities and build economic stability. Youth should be educated about finances early in life and at pivotal points in their development.”**
Items in the Youth Store are also used as birthday gifts, given away at a monthly Birthday Bash. This allows kids in the youth center to feel special while eliminating additional stress on Bridge families to purchase birthday presents while they are trying to better manage their household finances as well. There is always excitement surrounding new items that are added to the store.
Whether it is deciding between buying the toy car or saving up for the bike, the Youth Store is providing the opportunity for children to manage their “money” in a fun and creative way, while also recognizing them for their hard work throughout the year.
How to Sponsor
- Sign up to be a sponsor!
- You will receive an email confirmation with the Youth Store Wish List to download or print for reference while shopping.
- Purchase items from the Wish List for the Youth Store. Please collect NEW items only. Donations of used items will not be accepted.
- Print and attach the Youth Store Wish List to your items. Circle or highlight purchased gifts on the list before you drop them off.
- Drop off the items to the front desk at The Crossing (6090 Smith Road, Denver, CO 80216). The Crossing is open between 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., seven days a week.
Get Started Today
Help us to continue to stock the Youth Store and bring joy to the youth we serve!