In November 2014, Native community leaders from across the nation gathered at the Northwest Native Asset-Building Summit in Minneapolis, Minnesota. First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) was honored to be a part of the summit and present its “$pending Frenzy” workshop to conference attendees. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Native American Programs and the Red Lake Reservation Housing Authority, the Northwest Native Asset-Building Summit focused on asset-building innovations in Indian Country and strategies for advancing economic opportunity around people and place.
The $pending Frenzy workshop is based on experiential learning principles – the belief that youth learn by doing. Students learn how to use a bank to cash their check, and then are asked to make decisions about buying a car, buying a home, and balancing their wants and needs while budgeting their money. Unexpected emergencies and opportunities are presented to the youth in the form of “Cards of Fate,” which help them learn to plan for unexpected life events. An increasing number of tribes are providing minor’s trust payouts, or “18 Money,” for their youth. In response to demand from tribes who were struggling with how to prepare their youth for this once-in-a-lifetime event, First Nations developed the $pending Frenzy financial education model.
The interactive and dynamic $pending Frenzy was provided to tribal programs from across the country that are working towards incorporating asset-building into their economic development strategies. The $pending Frenzy workshop trained participants on how to conduct their own workshop in their home communities, and then let them go on a frenzy of their own. Participants were provided with play money and then were asked to make a series of budgeting decisions over a two-hour period. The participants had a lot of fun experiencing this interactive event, and several planned to take the program back to their home communities.
First Nations was honored to participate in two other workshops at the Northwest Native Asset-Building Summit, including one on Volunteer Income Tax Assistance programs and one on Children’s Savings Account programs. First Nations thanks the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Native American Programs and Red Lake Reservation Housing Authority for inviting us to be a part of this important event.
By Tawny Wilson, First Nations Program Officer