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 E.P.I.C. 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. E.P.I.C. stands for: Embolden, Practice, and Implement Character. This is what we hope to instill in our youth as they live at The Crossing and to take with them into the world.
Character Coins can be earned through good behavior, school attendance, participating in tutoring, completing assignments, and volunteering. In particular they earn coins in the areas of self-discipline, perseverance, and cooperation.
- Self-discipline is when I can keep my hands and feet to myself and be respectful of the people and things in the Youth Center.
- Perseverance is shown when I stick with it and complete the tasks that have been assigned to me.
- Cooperation is when I work with others in the Youth Center to clean up, listen to tutor/staff, and follow instructions.
A total of 15 coins can be earned (5 in each area) during our weekly programming. The coins can then be used to “buy” items in the store that they want. Youth can also choose to save their coins and wait until another time to shop and earn more coins. There are two times the store is open for youth, one for the littles (3-10 years of age), and then another time for the older youth (11-18 years of age).
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.
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 E.P.I.C. Store.
1) Shop, but not ‘till you drop!
The E.P.I.C. 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 Character Coins for one week, they earn more coins, teaching them the importance of saving and building interest.
3) Be responsible with your spending
If the kids’ accounts drop below five Character Coins, 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 Character Coins they have left.
Ready to Help Support the E.P.I.C. 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 E.P.I.C. 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 E.P.I.C. 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 E.P.I.C. Store Wish List to download or print for reference while shopping.
- Purchase items from the Wish List for the E.P.I.C. Store. Please collect NEW items only. Donations of used items will not be accepted.
- Print and attach the E.P.I.C. 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 E.P.I.C. Store and bring joy to the youth we serve!