Exploring Student Financial Literacy – Student Spotlight: Edgar Gomez


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Exploring Student Financial Literacy

By: Dr. Joseph Kashiwagi

One of the crucial life skills every student needs to grasp for future success is financial literacy. Unfortunately, many students lack a solid understanding of managing finances. While we emphasize various skills in education, we often overlook this essential aspect. It’s our responsibility to equip students with the knowledge to handle their finances wisely, paving the way for their future success.

The Valley Guardians program aims to support underprivileged students who may not otherwise have access to necessary resources for success. Our primary objective is to empower students with the skills and support needed for a successful life journey. Each student receives personalized coaching to develop crucial life skills that traditional schooling may overlook but are pivotal for their success.

Financial Guidance

We advocate for students to seek employment and learn the ropes of financial management. Weekly sessions are dedicated to discussing budgeting, saving strategies, and debt avoidance, crucial skills for their future endeavors. Many of these students lack mentors to turn to for advice on financial matters, making our guidance invaluable in shaping their financial habits. These skills become lifelong assets, ensuring their future success.

Meet Edgar Gomez

Edgar Rodriguez Gomez joined the VG program in the fall of 2023. Originally from Chihuahua, Mexico, Edgar migrated to the U.S. at the age of 9, seeking better education opportunities and fluency in English. During his formative years, he resided with his aunt and grandparents, who instilled in him the value of education. Now a high school senior, Edgar is on the brink of becoming the first in his family to pursue a college education.

In addition to his academic pursuits, Edgar has discovered a passion for baking. Inspired by his family’s bakery background in Mexico, he embarked on a journey to learn the art of making donuts. Over the past two months, Edgar has successfully operated a small home bakery, selling over 300 donuts. Balancing his time between academics and his bakery, Edgar remains focused on his ultimate goal of attending college. Edgar is a prime example of a student how has been able to learn these financial skills at an earlier age that will carry with him for his entire life!

Valley Guardian Program

The Valley Guardian program is a multiyear coaching program for underserved students in the community. It was created by successful business people in the valley. They got together and formed a non-profit to find ways to fund developmental programs for kids in underserved communities. This program was aimed toward the underserved kids in the valley who have good hearts and have a desire to be successful and be mentored. The kids who are a part of this program have access to all different kinds of services like professional coaches, coaching calls, getaways, leadership education and training workshops, access to professionals in the valley, college and career readiness and more. The Valley Guardian program started with a single school of 6 students, and overtime has grown to 13 schools, 7 districts, and 49 active students. Overall there have been 120 students who have benefited from this program.

The Valley Guardians program offers over thirty online and in person workshops per year. We do many different types of workshops per year including things like arcades, parks, hikes, parties, and online leadership training. Many of the kids who come are not very social and are looking for a place to feel comfortable and be able to meet new people while being themselves. When they come to programs they have a great time. The way we set them up makes kids feel comfortable, whether we ask them what they are interested in doing or set them up to meet new people through social activities at the beginning of each event. The students find they feel connected and accepted through the program.