GREENCASTLE, Ind. — A Greencastle teen has started a non-profit to help teach financial literacy to younger students.
Right now his organization, “Students Teaching Finance“, is just in his community, but he has plans for it to reach as many people as possible.
“The main goal is to fill this need. Mend a gap in our education,” said Isaac Hertenstein.
Isaac is a high school sophomore, and while he has all the makings to be the world’s next billionaire, he says it’s not about building wealth but about sharing the knowledge.
“It’s important to me that these kids learn that and hopefully, we can reach more and more kids,” Hertenstein said.
Recently, Isaac taught a lesson at his old middle school to the 6th grade class. He says it has more of an impact coming from a peer.
“That breaks up monotony of the classroom obviously, and many kids are interested in seeing an older role model sort of person interested in what they’re talking about,” said Hertenstein.
It’s something the students agreed with.
“Because it can really help when you’re older and it can help you make better decisions if you didn’t know about it,” said Kenadie Bieniek.
Isaac says he wants to teach them enough to know a little but also be interested in learning more.
“When you’re older, you want to be able to put your money in the bank, know [how] much interest and how interest works,” said Kaylee Ames.
He covers a variety of topics in his lessons.
“Anything from three buckets, whether you’re saving or giving, or compound interest,” Hertenstein said.
Hertenstein says a lack of financial literacy can be linked to things like poverty and other problems.
“We look at money more as providing as choices for people, options for their lives. So they’re not necessarily hindered by not having as much money or financial choices and decisions they can make.”
He’s also doing careers lessons to help kids explore different opportunities.
“Just the various options of what they can relate to and we incorporate supply and demand in that, so people can pursue jobs that are in demand if they work so hard for a certain job they want and how it all relates in the economic world.”
His former business teacher, Brittany Labheart, says she was excited when he asked to come to teach her class, and he’s welcomed back anytime.
“I think it’s important just to educate students on the importance of saving at an early age,” said Labheart.
“I would love to have him as much as he is available to come to the schools. I would love to have him in my class. He is just wise beyond his years, and he’s such a great kiddo.”
He has lessons scheduled with 4th graders in May and is looking to partner with other local organizations.
The hope is for this to stretch nationwide.
“It means to me, helping others and trying to make the world a better place in a lot of sense, make everyone a more equitable society, and everyone be more knowledgeable about these problems and issues, as well as using personal finance to overcome a lot of them.”
The lesson plans are online. You can find them and more information about his organization here.