Mission & History

Mission Statement: To create a financially informed youth in Arizona

Program Description: In order to create a generation of financially-informed youth in Arizona, the Take Charge Cats (named after the University of Arizona Wildcats) recruited a team of 12 University of Arizona students who are trained on personal finance topics. Under the direct supervision of the University of Arizona Take Charge America Institute, the Take Charge Cats program partners with campus organizations, Tucson-area middle and high schools, Take Charge Today curriculum and community organizations and businesses to deliver a series of interactive personal finance workshops. The Cats deepen their outreach efforts by hosting an end-of-year competition for participating high school students, the Arizona Financial Face-Off, that tests their financial understanding.

Take Charge Cats History
The Take Charge Cats began in 2000 with just 5 student credit ambassadors educating their peers on the University of Arizona campus. The first accomplishment was securing a small $6,000 grant to conduct a speaker series on campus. Since then, the Cats have grown to a team of 15 ambassadors. To date, the Cats have extended their educational outreach efforts to directly impact over 21,000 youth and adults in the Tucson community through thousands of workshops, increasing audience members’ knowledge of personal finance by more than 43%!

Over its 10-year tenure, the Take Charge Cats program has developed “Credit-Wise” teams on other University campuses and provided case study competition opportunities to over 100 Students In Free Enterprise teams around the country.

The Take Charge Cats are also responsible for creating the youth financial competition such as the Jr. Duel in the Desert financial case study competition and the Arizona Financial Face-Off.

The Take Charge Cats are trained to facilitate workshops that cover seven key areas in personal finance. Each member of the Take Charge Cats team receives training and ongoing development to ensure workshops are presented in an effective, informative and fun manner. We continually reformat, update and develop new workshop presentation topics to meet the needs of audience members on our campus and community. The seven presentation topics are:

  • Developing a Spending Plan
  • Savings
  • Selecting a Credit Card
  • Understanding Credit Reports
  • Understanding Paychecks
  • Income vs. Education
  • Identity Theft