Summer 2020 Newsletter

Meet Our Graduating Cats

Oh how time flies! We have 4 Cats graduating this semester whom we will all dearly miss. Read on to see what their plans are after graduation!


Shane Dunican

What advice would you give to the old and new Cats?
I would tell new cats to come into the program excited to learn from others. The Take Charge Cats hire from a diverse background of majors, minors, socioeconomic backgrounds, and hometowns so everyone is going to have a different level of experience with the material, the presenting, or the topics. There is no shame in learning and improving and everyone in the program is there to support anyone (new or old) who wants the help. So take chances and build your confidence through trial and error.

What's one or two highlights from working as a Take Charge Cat?
My highlights from working as a Take Charge Cat come in two parts. I really enjoy putting on AFF, because I really like seeing all the students who are excited to be there and excited to interact with what we teach. It is a great day to see what these students have learned. I also have really enjoyed every moment in which someone from a class that I am presenting to seems very engaged and interested. It feels good to really connect with students and I have really enjoyed when students would come up to me after a presentation with more questions or seeking advice for personal circumstances related to what we teach.

What are your plans after you graduate?
After graduation I am seeking a full time position in Financial Planning. I am pursuing my CFP certification and look forward to working with individuals and helping them navigate their own finances. Before all of that happens (assuming COVID doesn’t completely ruin my plans), I hope to spend some time doing nothing. I have been in school for so many years of my life that I hope to take some time to just do what I want to do each day. Not work, travel locally where it is safe to do so, and spend time figuring out what is most important to me. 
Sierra Taylor

What advice would you give to the old and new Cats?
Don’t be afraid to get involved and take the lead on projects. Also know that your ideas and opinions are important and you should always speak up if you have new ideas or suggestions. 

What's one or two highlights from working as a Take Charge Cat?
My favorite highlight was AFF my first year. I bonded so much with a lot of the cats and knew that this was my place. I loved helping the students and seeing all of their workshops come together.  Take Charge Cats has taught me a lot about understanding others and being a leader. Although my major isn’t directly related to finances, this experience has been so beneficial in countless ways! 

What are your plans after you graduate?
I’m moving to California to get my masters then hopefully doctorate in clinical psychology.
Ryan Bravin

What advice would you give to the old and new Cats?
A piece of advice I have for members of the Take Charge Cats team is to learn from those around you.  I have learned so much from every single Cat I’ve had the pleasure of presenting with, and for that I am forever grateful.  If I’ve learned anything from working with this team, it’s that I can always count on learning something new from another person.  Whether it’s a presentation trick, a classroom management strategy, or just an analogy from another Cat’s toolbox, we all have amazing things that we can glean from one another.

What's one or two highlights from working as a Take Charge Cat?
By far the most memorable highlight would be one workshop where the address in Google Calendar led us to a random house in the middle of a neighborhood rather than an actual middle school.  Cole and I seriously considered knocking on their door, but we thought that wouldn’t be a great idea.  This speaks to the fact that no matter what happens—good or bad—the Take Charge Cats has a funny way of being memorable for the most interesting of reasons.  

What are your plans after you graduate?
I will be moving to Eastern North Carolina in July to begin my career as Teach For America corps member.  There, I will be teaching high school English in a rural community, serving low-income students for 2 years.  I am so grateful to the Take Charge Cats for preparing me for this next adventure, as every single member on this team has been instrumental in encouraging me, challenging me, and motivating me to be better, day in and day out.  I will miss everyone dearly, and know that I appreciate you all and love you all from the bottom of my heart.
Kei Ann Mandanas

What advice would you give to the old and new Cats?
Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, learn new skills and take on leadership roles! Be open to changes and always look for ways to improve. Ask for help and learn from other Cats! Oh and just have fun at your workshops. 

What's one or two highlights from working as a Take Charge Cat?
Some of my highlights include being a coach at AFF and having my teams win, hanging out with other Cats after we do a workshop, the Monday meetings, RETREAT, and being the social media chair for this school year!  

What are your plans after you graduate?
I want to take a couple years off before returning to school for my masters degree in public health. I just want to relax, travel a bit, do volunteer work, and continue my internship at Saguaro National Park while hopefully starting a career in public health. 

Cats Preparing for Digital Workshops 

We are 100% committed to continuing to provide personal finance workshops for this upcoming school year.  We are currently exploring options for various ways we can engage with students in a safe environment for all.  We hope to provide you more details in early fall.  Stay safe and healthy this summer!


Get to know the other Cats!

Learn more about the other Cats on our amazing team. 


What's your favorite workshop to teach?


What's your advice on investing in ourselves during this time?

Invest in your health. For me, I've been trying to workout more and making it a social activity with my friends through FaceTime. I've also been cooking more at home and trying to improve the nutrition that I'm consuming. Health and fitness also ties into the virus and how healthy you are impacts your ability to fight off viruses and diseases.


What's your favorite workshop to teach?
For me my favorite workshop is Spending Plans because I think it's something everyone can start working on now to achieve their financial goals.

What's your advice on investing in ourselves during this time?
I think the most important thing people can do to invest in themselves is self care, in whatever form that may be so that people can stay happy and healthy!


What's your favorite workshop to teach?
Credit basics is my favorite because it's usually the workshop that has the most questions from students and has a lot of engagement!!

What's your advice on investing in ourselves during this time?
Some good ways would be to possibly look into free online certifications or learning DIY projects in the mean time if you have a lot of free time!


What's your favorite workshop to teach?
My favorite workshop to teach is Invest in Yourself. I love the game and the message!

What's your advice on investing in ourselves during this time?
My advise on investing in yourself is to learn new things! Read to learn something new, watch Youtube videos and tutorials to learn how to do new things.


What's your favorite workshop to teach?
My favorite workshop to teach is Jobs and Paychecks! I think that the presentation ties a lot of concepts together, like protecting your information, paying yourself first, and even thinking about retirement!

What's your advice on investing in ourselves during this time?
During quarantine, my advice for investing in yourself would be to indulge in a hobby and learn new skills! My two hobbies are sewing and cooking, so this summer I plan to try some new recipes, finish a quilt I've started, and maybe get going on sewing some Christmas gifts for my family.


What's the tea?

How to Take Care of Yourself During the Corona Virus Outbreak.

1. Meditate. Go to Youtube to do 5 minute guided meditations each day. 
2. Keep a journal and write down what you are feeling. Highs and lows!
3. Surround yourself with positive vibes or energy.
4. Listen to music or dance!
5. Take a break from the news. 
6. Exercise or do some sort of physical activity.
7. Get some sun.
8. Sleep sooner and wake up earlier.
9. Read a book.
10. Take on a new hobby. 
11. Get crafty.
12. Connect with friends.
13. Wash your hands.
14. Wear a mask whenever you go out.
15. Take a cold shower!
16. Drink water and try to eat more fruits and vegetables when you can.
17. Rearrange your room! You can even redecorate and recycle/donate the things you don't use anymore while you're at it. 
18. Allow yourself to take a break.


3 Strategies for managing our money during the Corona Virus Outbreak.

The following strategies are based on the interview with Mr. Richard Rosen by Rosemary Brandt. To read the full article, click here

Mr. Rosen is an associate professor at University of Arizona Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences. He specializes in personal and family financial planning. He is also the interim director of the Take Charge America Institute for Consumer Financial Education and Research. 

1. Be proactive when it comes to managing your bills. If you have a credit card debt and you are still earning income, try to pay your debt as soon as possible. You can start by paying the minimum payment and then work on paying off the credit card debt that has the highest interest rate first and then the next one and so on until all cards are paid off.  

2. Decide which bills to prioritize. What are essential for us? Consider food, shelter, A/C, medicine, etc. Then think about what resources are available for us to use (ex. food banks, food pantries, cheaper options etc.) and which expenses are easier to eliminate. 

3. Prepare an emergency fund. Keep in mind a savings goal and make sure that the fund can maintain at least 3 months worth of expenses. 

Interested in reading more articles similar to this?
Learn from Consumer Protection Financial Bureau on how to protect yourself financially during the corona virus outbreak.


Fun things to try while in Quarantine.

Got some time on your hands? Why not try something new!

Make that recipe you've been wanting to try. Or, try this vegan recipe by our Take Charge Cat, Kei Ann!

Banana Bread (Vegan)
3 large ripe bananas
Baking soda (about 1-2 teaspoons)
1 stick vegan butter, softened
2/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
3-4 tbsp flax seed
1 1/2 cup of flour
A dash of salt
Vanilla (about 2 teaspoon)
1/2 cup oatmilk + water

1. In a bowl, mix the sugar and butter until you reach a creamy consistency.
2. Combine all dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
3. Mash the bananas in another bowl, then add the vanilla, water, and oat milk. Tip: if the bananas aren't overripe, feel free to pop them in the oven at 350 degrees for 5 to 8 minutes until the skins are brown before using them. 
4. Mix in the sugar and butter. 
5. Gradually add in the dry ingredients and use a spoon to incorporate all the ingredients together. Don't forget to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl!
6. Transfer the mixture on a baking pan and bake your banana bread for 50 minutes under 350 degrees. 

Make your own face mask at home 3 ways!

Version 1
  • T Shirt
  • Scissors
Version 2
  • Rubber Bands (2)
  • A bandana
  • Coffee Filter
Version 3
  • Needle and thread
  • Scissors
  • Sewing Machine
  • Cotton fabric
  • Cloth strips

For instructions, see Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19 by the CDC. 
Photo by the CDC. 
Make your own coconut oil body scrub for a nice glowy skin that wouldn't break the bank!

About 1/3 to 1/2 cup of coconut oil
About 1/2 cup granulated sugar

1. Mix the two ingredients. Making sure that the coconut oil is solid and not melted. Aim for a course paste consistency.
2. Clean your skin before applying the scrub.
3. When applying the scrub, make sure to massage your skin in circular motion. Be gentle!
4. Wash it off using lukewarm water and gentle soap.

Do this a couple of times a week for a nicely exfoliated and soft skin!
Get up and get sweating with Zumba!
Love to dance and want to get moving? Try a Latin Dance Aerobic Workout or check out The Fitness Marshall for a shorter sweat session!
Arts and craft! Been thinking about doing DIYs? Now is the time to do it!

Check out Buzzfeed's 38 DIY Gifts People Actually Want.
Explore the outdoors in the comfort of your couch!

Check out these 5 National Parks giving you a virtual tour of the wilderness!
Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii
Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida
Check out 100+ Fun Things to Do at Home Right Now, From Virtual Tours to Animals Cams and More by Tanner Saunders from Travel and Leisure for more inspiration!