October 2020 Newsletter

Take Charge Cats


October, 2020
Welcome back! While our workshops were cut short last semester, we are excited to announce that we are now taking requests for virtual Zoom workshops!

Please use the request form or email Krystle Calles
Meet Our New Director

The Take Charge America Institute has been undoing some changes in leadership and we're so excited to introduce to you our new director!
Daniel McDonald, Ph. D.
Dr. Dan McDonald is the new director of the Take Charge America Institute for Consumer Financial Education and Research. Dan is a University of Arizona Distinguished Outreach Faculty member and an Extension Specialist with Arizona Cooperative Extension. He has worked in Extension at the University of Arizona for 20 years, designing, implementing, and evaluating community programs. Dr. McDonald received his Doctorate in Family Studies and Human Development from the Norton School in 2000 and began his career in Extension as the Evaluation Specialist for the Arizona Children, Youth, and Families at Risk (CYFAR) project. For the past 16 years he supervised the Pima County Extension nutrition education/food security program, including an innovative nutrition education facility, The Garden Kitchen, and helped establish Teens Advocating Sustainable Change (TASC), now the 4-H Healthy Living Ambassadors. In addition to nutrition programs, he oversees Cooperative Extension’s Wildcat Corps (AmeriCorps) statewide program and supports the Extension Financial Education program offered through the Take Charge American Institute.

Meet Our New Cats

We are so excited to introduce to you our five new Take Charge Cats!

Maggie Freeh

Maggie is pursuing a major in Family Studies and Human Development with a minor in Personal and Family Financial Planning in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. When she isn't studying, she is either exercising, hanging out with her friends or watching Netflix. She was recently part of a research team that studied family financial socialization, which made her realize the importance of teaching others about finances. That experience inspired her to become a Take Charge Cat where she hopes to educate students all over Tucson, so they can have the best financial future possible!
Justin Head

Justin is pursuing a double major in Business Management and Entrepreneurship at the Eller College of Management. After graduating, he hopes to work at a Non-Profit making an impact on today's serious issues like human trafficking, world hunger, or other crises. As a devout Christian, Justin spends his extra time in his Bible or with the Navigators on-campus ministry. 
Skylar Stone

Skylar is pursuing nursing with a minor in psychology. Her dream would to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner and own her own practice. She is excited to be apart of the Take Charge Cats Team to help inspire young people to chase their dreams through financial freedom and security. On her free time, Skylar likes to workout, cook, and play with her dog. 

Kunal is an Honors student at Eller, pursuing Finance and Economics. He is excited to be with Take Charge Cats and hopes to help others understand the crucial subject of Personal Finance! In his spare time, he enjoys reading about history and taking a hike in one of the Tucson Mountains. You can always talk to him about Soccer and Real Madrid.

Get to know the Cats!

Self-care is an important topic that everyone overlooks during these times. During the pandemic, people have found more free time and started to do things that make them feel better, taking care of yourself mentally and physically is one of the most important things. The team of Take Charge Cats find new ways to take care of themselves, and they want to share some tips and advice to other people. 
Wendy McBroom
What have you been doing to take care of yourself during the pandemic?

During the pandemic I’ve been making sure I spend plenty of time outside getting fresh air and keeping myself busy with work and school.

Any tips that you have for someone who isn’t taking care of themselves?

I would suggest that people struggling during the pandemic remember that it’s okay to have unproductive days if it means taking care of yourself and your emotional health. Keep in touch with friends, pursue your hobbies, exercise and find time to go outside every day.

What piece of financial knowledge has helped you in the pandemic?

During the beginning of the pandemic I wasn’t making as much income as I had originally planned, so I was glad that I had savings to help me and I think now more than ever it’s critical to have a generous emergency fund with all the uncertainty surrounding us.

Sarah George

What have you been doing to take care of yourself during the pandemic?

I’ve been practicing self-care by exercising often, taking time to make and eat meals, and growing lots of plants!

Any tips that you have for someone who isn’t taking care of themselves?

My top self-care priority is getting enough sleep! Setting a bedtime reminder and winding down before bed help a lot, even if it’s your only form of self-care.

What piece of financial knowledge has helped you in the pandemic?

Being able to distinguish between a want and a need has been so helpful! Every time I make a purchase, I stop to think about why I’m buying it. I also keep separate lists of things I want and things I need, which helps me prioritize and budget.


What have you been doing to take care of yourself during the pandemic?

I have been taking time to do things that I enjoy more. I have been reading and drawing more, which was something I did not have as much time for when school was in a regular session

Any tips that you have for someone who isn’t taking care of themselves?

Self-care is extremely important. Don’t neglect yourself when you are super stressed and do things that make you happy and feel good!

What piece of financial knowledge has helped you in the pandemic?

Having an emergency fund came in handy
Paola Jaquez

What have you been doing to take care of yourself during the pandemic?

I started to do more exercise and read again because I have more free time. Also, I started to take more care of my diet because of the extra time that I have.

Any tips that you have for someone who isn’t taking care of themselves?

Self-care is important, always see how your body is responding to different circumstances, always take a break and look at what your body is telling you.

What piece of financial knowledge has helped you in the pandemic?

Having a savings account helped me a lot!

Taking Care at The Take Charge Cats

To keep up with the theme of self care, we have the amazing program coordinator, Krystle, who compiled a team self care kit. Even after the school year starts, it is important to keep those habits and take time to focus on yourself. All these items are helping the Cats to do self-care from home. Some of the items in the kit include a journal, green tea, a candle, and free Whataburger!

Thank you Krystle! You are the best!

New Club Alert!

Financial Freedom Club (FFC) is a new club on campus aiming to educate college students on relevant financial topics. The club is open to all students, regardless of their major or level of financial knowledge. The idea of this club came from one of the cats, Wendy McBroom, the current president, as she was seeing the lack of financial literacy among college students, so she decided to bring this initiative to the entire Take Charge Cats team. Wendy, Cole, Christian, Paola, Adriana and Maggie decide to work in creating this club that is currently going successful. We ask Wendy some questions about the club and here are here responses:

How the idea of the club began?

The idea of the club began when I would tell my UA peers about my work for TCC and they would always comment things like “I wish I learned how to manage my finances” or “I would love classes like that at UA, I don’t know how to handle my money”. The idea began as a series of workshops at the UA but evolved into a club format to retain student involvement and foster a sense of community with opportunity for student leadership.

How do you feel about the response that the club is having?

Our email list now has over 60 recipients comprised of students, cats, and UA faculty, our group me has 30 members and on a arrange we’ve had around 25 students attend each event! To me this is better than anything I could’ve asked for since it’s our first semester, and I can’t wait to see how the club grows and evolves over the next few years!

What is a long-term goal that you have for the club?

A long-term goal I have for the club is to really foster a strong, supportive community where members encourage each other to grow, learn and improve in the field of personal finance. My ideal vision for the club involves members sharing advice, strategies and accomplishments surrounding personal goals.

Financial Freedom Club hosts virtual meetings every other Tuesday from 5:00-6:00 pm. Do you want to join or know someone who may want to join? Contact FFC!

Email: uafinancialfreedomclub@gmail.com

Instagram: uaffc

Complete this form!

Spooky Self Care Ideas

Take Charge Cats have been focusing on self care ideas such as exercising, limiting screen time, and trying a new hobby. Try these activities in the spirit of fall!

Thriller Dance Tutorial

Get your body moving with the classic halloween dance!


Happy Fall Y'all! Try this easy make pumpkin pie to spice up your fall!

10 Minute No-Bake Pumpkin Pie


-8 ounces of cream cheese (softened)

-1/2 cup light brown sugar (packed)

-1 cup pumpkin (or squash puree)

-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

-1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

-1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

-2 1/2 cups frozen whipped topping (thawed, regular or lite; most of an 8-ounce tub)

-9-inch graham cracker crust (purchased or homemade)

-Garnish: whipped topping (or sweetened whipped cream, for topping)

-Optional: cinnamon sugar for sprinkling


1. In a mixing bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese with the brown sugar, pumpkin or squash, vanilla, and spices until well fluffy and well blended. Fold in the 2 1/2 cups of whipped topping. 

2. Spread the mixture in the graham cracker crust. 

3. Cover and chill the pie for 2 to 3 hours before serving.

4. Serve with whipped topping or freshly whipped cream and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, if desired.

Try this DIY Craft!

Halloween Candy Wreath


  • Foam wreath
  • Orange ribbon
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun
  • MARS® Mad Scientist candy assortment
  • Skittles® / Starburst® Bag candy assortment
  • Plastic spiders


  1. Heat hot glue gun.  
  2. Begin wrapping orange ribbon around the foam wreath, gluing into place as you go.
  3. Once ribbon is in place, begin gluing on Halloween candies, making sure to cover the majority of the ribbon.  Leave enough space to tie a loop of ribbon for hanging.
  4. Glue on plastic spiders to add a spooky touch to the wreath.
  5. Finally, tie a loop of ribbon onto the wreath for hanging.