August 18, 2022 by Variety QLD Admin

There’s so much that schools teach our kids, but something that’s lacking from school curriculum is basic financial skills. It’s very important that kids learn these basic life skills like the value of money, how to create and stick to a budget, manage bills, and make good financial decisions.

This is especially important for vulnerable kids in our community, such as kids who are living with a disability. It’s an unfortunate truth that kids living with a disability are at high risk of being taken advantage of financially once they leave school. After working with staff and students at special schools across Queensland it became apparent to Variety’s financial counsellors that there was a gap in knowledge around the value of money, borrowing or debt.

Once a child turns eighteen, they are legally entitled to make financial decisions. Unfortunately this goes hand-in-hand with the awful expression ‘the vultures are waiting at the school gate’ for when a vulnerable child turns eighteen. Many young adults living with a disability become the victims of fraud and financial malpractice, often being coerced into signing up for financial schemes that are not in their best interests, from ‘buy now, pay later’ schemes, right through to more sinister schemes.

As part of our new Variety Financial Literacy program, we have launched the ‘Everyday Money Skills Program’. This program sees Variety’s financial counsellors visit special school classrooms across South East Queensland to teach kids basic money management skills. The aim is to empower kids living with a disability to better understand their financial rights and responsibilities, paving the way to break the cycle of poverty for people living with a disability.

The program will build the confidence of these kids to help them navigate day to day tasks like buying groceries or even larger purchases. The program will also enable these students to live more independently as they grow into young adults, since they can feel more confident to take control over their own personal financial decisions. When kids simply understand the value of a dollar, they are better equipped to make good decisions as adults that will set them up for a healthy financial future.

In conjunction with the Everyday Money Skills Program, we have also launched the Money Buddy initiative. This initiative gives students a financial helpline that they can call at any time and speak with one of Variety’s financial counsellors within minutes. If a student finds themselves in a difficult situation, such as being pressured into signing up for a credit card, entering a ‘buy now, pay later’ scheme, or in some cases being scammed by a fraudulent company or person, we will be right there for them on the other end of the phone to help them make their best decisions.

The rollout of this Australia first program will start at special schools in South East Queensland thanks to the support of the St George Foundation, James Frizelle Charitable Foundation and Queensland Community Foundation. The long-term goal is to secure funding to allow the program to expand into as many schools across Queensland as possible.

If you would like to help support this program and others like it you can make a donation to Variety Queensland today. Every contribution makes a difference in the lives of kids in need. We appreciate all our supporters for helping to make programs like this possible.


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