Project Belize 2011 Participants Share Their Stories, Day Three

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Project Belize 2011 Participants Share Their Stories, Day Three

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Day Three: PwC Project Belize 2011 participants share their stories from the ground


Since 2008, PwC has supported youth education for thousands of students in Belize City through Project Belize. The project has helped students continue their education and has been an inspirational experience for our PwC participants.

Read the journals entries about how this remarkable program continues to impact thousands of students Belize, their teachers and the people of PwC.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011 - 11:00am

Brett Glowacki, Senior Associate - Transfer Pricing (Philadelphia, PA) 
Day 3: Compounding Interest: A Technical and Emotional Tool

Today started the same as the first day, full of excitement and anticipation. The lessons to the teachers began with a review of the material covered the day prior as well as a quick update from each PwC US employee reiterating the discussions that they had with some of the students. The teachers were surprised to hear that the students were so grounded in their thinking. One teacher remarked that she had received a call from her principal who stated that his only regret from the day prior was that more children did not attend the camps (due to the weather). After this brief session, we broke into six groups, each with one person from each of the lessons developed on Monday. Each teacher presented his or her lesson to the group, as if they were actually teaching a class. 
After lunch, we started today's lessons. The teachers learned how Excel could be used as a tool to help understand and navigate financial concepts. The concept of compound interest seemed new to a few of the teachers and so I took it upon myself to develop a very simple compound interest sheet. Using $1,000 and a three percent interest rate, I showed how money can grow exponentially. I also made sure to link cells so that we could easily manipulate the dollar amount and interest rate to make the example more relatable to kids. Afterward, the group wanted to know if they invested $5,000 today, how much they would have after 35 years. Using Excel we should the group the power of compounding and they were amazed at the value the tool could bring to help them understand compounding.  
The day felt fulfilling as many of the teachers showed both excitement and appreciation. They told us that they now understood the importance of financial literacy and had a better grasp on how to deliver it in the classroom. The acknowledgment that we helped them to better understand a concept that could potentially change the lives of their students and maybe their own lives was certainly an enjoyable experience.
Rachel Smith, Tax Intern (Greater Milwaukee Area)
Day 3: Adventures at the Bank
Today, the students and staff loaded onto the rickety, yellow school bus for a fieldtrip to the Belize Bank and the University of Belize (UB) to engage in a practical application of some of the concepts we taught in the classroom. Once at the Belize Bank, the Branch Manager, who is also the mother of two boys in our group, spoke about several of the relevant services the bank provides including savings, credit cards, and consumer loans as well as took us on a tour of the Bank. To reinforce the value of saving even small amounts of money, one of the Bank Officers told the students that if they gave up one soda a day, they could save $2 per day and at the end of high school they would have almost $3,000 BZ - enough to pay for their first year at University.
The second stop of the day was a classroom building at UB. An admissions officer discussed the requirements for acceptance and what kinds of courses the students should study for particular careers, like taking biology classes in order to become a Doctor. Then, a representative from the Ministry of Education presented some scholarship opportunities to the students. Then one of the professors at UB gave his personal account of working hard to achieve goals and even earning Masters and Doctorate degrees in the United States. I was so impressed by the poised behavior of the children and the intelligent questions they asked throughout the presentation.
In the afternoon, we held a competition to review what we had learned in the morning. The children definitely love games and competing. Before the game began, each team created a team name and flag. My favorite was the team: Go Unstoppable Pirates! Arrgh!
Between working together in the competition, lunch, and college application activity, I felt the team grow closer and the bonds grow tighter. In addition to the educational goals of the eight students in my small group, I also learned about their families, their favorite hobbies, and their dreams. For example, one energetic girl named Chelsea wants to study law at the University of West Indies in Jamaica and then come back to Belize as a female politician.
I have greatly enjoyed getting to know these kids and sharing experiences back and forth. I hope that we have exposed them to some new opportunities and that they will carry forward the ideas and lessons into the future.


Kelly M. Howard