As she was growing up, Sheena Williams was encouraged by her father to save her money and use it wisely. So when she moved out on her own she was good about paying her rent and bills.
With the down turn in the economy things changed for Williams and during a two year period she went through a series of three different jobs and found that she wasn’t prepared for the drastic change in her finances.
Williams realized that she should not have been paying only her bills but also saving and investing. She said, “That’s when I began to learn the value of delayed gratification.”
So back to school she went; this time to grad school for a masters degree in business administration. With that degree in hand and a passion to help young girls avoid the financial stress she had experienced, Williams founded the not for profit organization SheWill.
The vision of SheWill, according to the organization's website, is “to prepare young girls for successful, career oriented futures free from debt and irresponsible financial decisions.” Williams accomplishes this by providing interactive sessions on financial literacy.
The learning sessions cover information such as saving, giving, budgeting and other financial responsibilities. Classes divide the girls into age groups and go more in depth with the information they cover as the ages increase. Girls 8-11 discuss credit cards, checks and what credit is.
The oldest group of girls, ages 15-17, learn about compound interest, credit reports, how to use credit cards responsibly and how to prepare for college. SheWill also offers a separate work readiness program.
When I asked Williams why she chooses to offer this program to girls only she told me she believes that, “in girls ages 18-35, two out of three have little to no financial education. I really have a passion to empower young girls financially.”
One of the main concepts Williams wants to teach the girls in her program is that of delayed gratification, which she had to learn the hard way. She thinks that young people are very interested in having and using the latest technology.
“You can buy an iPhone when it first comes out and pay $400 for it and you’ll have an iPhone. Or, you can have $400 in your pocket in case you need it, wait a while and later buy the same phone for $100. You can make a better financial choice by waiting to get what you want.“
The literature for SheWill, which she describes as fun and interactive, was created by Williams herself. She used the guidelines set forth by the Jump Start Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy to develop her program.
SheWill is available to schools, churches, boys and girls organizations and any group desiring to promote financial literacy. Williams is always looking for volunteers to help out with the programs in this non-profit organization. For more information on SheWill go to their website www.shewill.org.
Thanks to Williams for the great job she is doing to help prepare girls for a profitable financial future.