ACCOUNTING FOR KIDS
The initial vision for Accounting for Kids began as a result of Crystal Faulkner. She is a founding partner of the accounting firm, Cooney, Faulkner & Stevens, LLC and would frequently visit her clients that were located in the Over the Rhine neighborhood. It is one of the impoverished areas in the greater Cincinnati region that suffered from a riot two years ago. Faulkner witnessed children standing on the streets, many of which had not been exposed to any other environment that the six-city block radius in which they lived and went to school. She contacted officials in the Cincinnati Public schools and made arrangements for members of her company to “adopt” a class in an inner city elementary school. Each week firm associates went to the adopted school to tutor children in math.
When officials at the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative heard of the success of this effort, they asked Faulkner what could be done to replicate her efforts with other Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) and financial business professionals. Her vision was further developed and its purpose became two fold: to introduce financial concepts to children in a fun and interactive way and to inspire accounting and other business professionals to consider being a mentor or tutor for a child. As a result, Accounting for Kids, Inc. and Accounting for Kids Day was founded in May 2000 by a small group of Cincinnati CPAs.
This program is a risk-free way for CPAs and other professionals to understand what a huge impact a little time with children can make in the life of a child. A focal point of the initiative for Accounting for Kids is the firm belief that if children are empowered at an early age to learn fundamental financial skills, these skills can last a lifetime; thereby providing an opportunity to low-income children to have a life that is more financially upward mobile.
Students play games simulating the stock market, which introduces the concepts of investment and risk. Afterwards they are treated to a pizza party. About 200 financial professionals and more than 600 4th through 7th graders at 11 schools in the Cincinnati Public School District participated in Accounting for Kids Day on October 29, 2002. This Day is supported by contributions from many area businesses including Huntington Bank, who is a platinum-level sponsor. Mayor Charlie Luken has even proclaimed October 29th as Accounting for Kids Day in Cincinnati.
Currently in its fourth year, the three previous Accounting for Kids Day programs in Cincinnati have cumulatively involved approximately 500 professionals visiting more than sixty inner city classrooms and playing an interactive finance game with approximately 1,500 children. As a result of the Accounting for Kids, many businesses have adopted schools and more than 100 new volunteers have signed up to be mentors and/or tutors for children, through the CYC.
Due to the success in Cincinnati, the Ohio Society of CPAs replicated Accounting for Kids Day across the state of Ohio. The most recent Accounting for Kids Day was conducted in 11 Ohio chapters from Cleveland to Cincinnati. Another goal of Accounting for Kids, Inc. is that the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants will adopt Accounting for Kids Day on a national basis.