Junior Wall Streeters
Two years ago, Kevon Chisolm and son Kamari Chisolm paired together to create Junior Wallstreeter, a component of Black Wallstreeter, to empower the youth on financial wellness. The Virginia-based father-son duo are on a mission to give minority kids from disadvantaged backgrounds an opportunity at education in financial literacy.
“I strongly believe that regardless of your financial situation you deserve a financial education,” said Kevon Chisolm, Esq., Executive Director at Junior Wallstreeter.
Junior Wallstreeter offers a virtual camp in the summer on financial literacy and investing, allowing kids to learn skills in banking, budgeting, credit ratings, and more. The two-week summer camp ranges between $300 and $325, and for kids who may not be able to afford it they can potentially obtain a scholarship.
“So, for 10 days, kids are learning how to track their investments,” said Chisolm, “and we try to get the kids to understand and how to become investors more than consumers. So, I like to say rather than buy a pair of Nike, invest in Nike.”
Learning about finances between ages 10-11 from his dad, Kamari has been well-educated on the importance of financial intelligence. He tries to help his friends with their decision-making on spending and saving money so they can be just as equipped in financial literacy as he is.
“It’s helped me a bunch of different ways. It’s helped me see things on TV from a different perspective,” said Kamari Chisolm, “and it’s helped me teach my friends different things. […] But I think that with the financial literacy knowledge I’ve learned, I’ve helped my friends save money and hopefully encourage them to invest in the stock market so they can make more of their money.”
Unlike other programs, after camp is over kids are able to be a part of Junior Wallstreeter Alumni to make sure kids are practicing the skills they learned. Alumni campers meet throughout the year from September to April-May with different topics to continue this ongoing learning experience.
“We just want to make sure that the kids are still applying the information, that it didn’t just go out the window for the summer camp, so we have this ongoing,” said Chisolm.
Chisolm believes that the biggest misconception people have today about loans is the fact that they are tied to credit ratings.
“I don’t think we really understand the importance of credit and how that plays a role in obtaining a loan, house, car, student loans, anything. I don’t think we understand that,” said Chisolm.
Along with misconceptions on loans, even standard terminology when taking out a loan such as APR, Fixed Interest Rate and Variable Interest Rate may not be common knowledge to the youth and even adults. The 12 year-olds attending the camp may not necessarily need to know how to take out a loan just yet but they do receive a handbook from the program that they can refer back to when the time comes.
“No, [people don’t understand APRs] and that’s why we go over credit card applications. We teach the kids that. So if they’re following along and we give them a student workbook that lets them understand comparing different credit cards, like a credit card loan offer APR, ‘if they offer a higher loan, if they can offer you this,’ this is a how do you determine which credit card is the best,” said Chisolm.
The power of knowledge allows Kevon and Kamari to pass along the information they possess to the youth and adults throughout their journey of making financial education accessible to all.
“This is passionate to me,” said the elder Chisolm. “My love for our people and making a difference and just giving back, right, just work on giving back with the knowledge and tools that I have. We’re not perfect, but we’re just trying to make a difference.”Last modified: August 18, 2022
Anaya Vance is a reporter for deBanked. Connect with me on LinkedIn.