Financial Literacy Boosts “Out of FOCUS”

The inauguration of the FOCUS students’ T-shirt printing project at Lindsay Place High School (LPHS) received a boost from an in-house brainstorming session with Brian Smith of the Canadian Federation for Economic Education (CFEE) which runs the financial literacy program: “Talk With Our Kids About Money.”

Out of FOCUS

out-of-focus-articleLast year the Work-Oriented Training Path students in the FOCUS program at LPHS inaugurated what has turned out to be a successful T-shirt printing business under the catchy name, Out of FOCUS. The students filled orders for about 100 T-shirts, and they believe that there will be enough business within the Lester B. Pearson School Board (LBPSB) to keep them plenty busy in the coming year.

The project has given the students a chance to experience first-hand what they were learning about running a small business, its finances, operations, including the necessary computer software, public relations, and delivery – covering all the four Ps of marketing: Product, Place, Production, and Price.

CFEE and “Talk With Our Kids About Money”

Nancy Battet, Community and Liaison Partner at the LBPSB, introduced FOCUS teacher Monique Thirlwell and Peter Bellisario, Social Work Technician, to Brian Smith of the CFEE, who promotes financial literacy in high schools throughout the year and especially during “Talk with Our Kids About Money” day, which takes place every year on the third Wednesday of April.

The T-shirt project, which was a success on its own,
received a real boost from CFEE and TWOKAM.

Brian moderated a brainstorming session with the FOCUS students, who led the discussion in an open circle forum. Impressed with their T-shirt business, Brian invited the students to present their project at a BMO-sponsored “Money Fair” in April in Old Montreal. The three students who made the presentation were well-spoken and courageous, according to Peter. “I was really impressed,” says Peter, “as to how they fielded questions from the judges and various media who were present.”cfee-program-twokam-article

It is always uplifting
to see students get excited
about learning.

This was a fantastic opportunity for them to speak in front of a mixed audience. He added that even the trip to Old Montreal and the tour that they took of the historical buildings and port was a valuable outing.

This project has empowered students with financial knowledge, valuable hands-on logistical skills, and confidence. With the involvement and encouragement of the CFEE, “we were able to reach our students in a way I hadn’t anticipated,” says Peter.

Orders for T-shirts were being filled well into June, with the students taking ownership, volunteering to come back to the school on their own time, and working long hours to complete their project.

What’s next?

The priority in the fall for the FOCUS students in the Training for a Semiskilled Trade program is getting settled in their stages or work placements. When that is done, they can once again focus on Out of FOCUS.

Last year Stahls’, the heat-press equipment company, helped with the set-up, while LPHS staff handled the purchasing. Now that the equipment and business relationships are in place, this year’s students will be able to get more involved with all four of the marketing Ps.

What is a Money Fair?
A Money Fair is a unique and fun way to get kids talking about money matters – with teachers, fellow students, parents, and members of the community. It involves pairs of students selecting a money topic that is of interest to them, undertaking research on that topic, and preparing a creative presentation that showcases the outcome of their research and what they learned. Click here to learn more about Money Fairs.

The next “Talk With Our Kids About Money” day is scheduled for April 19, 2017. Click here to learn more and to register your school and access lesson plans.


Reminder: November is
National Financial Literacy Month
, a program of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC).

See also Financial Literacy Month Tools For “Talk With Our Kids About Money” in The GOAL Post, December 2015.


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