Featured Articles

November’s Tutor of the Month - Kimberly Sword


Andson has the best tutors. We really do. And no one epitomizes that more than Kim Sword. Kim comes from Cleveland, Ohio, although having a dad in the Air Force took her all over. “Growing up as a “military brat”, I was blessed with the opportunity to travel the world and experience so many things. As a result, I strive to bring a world of experiences to my young learners,” she says. Teaching is a second career for Kimberly, her first being in corporate management. Kimberly currently works part time for Mad Science and teaches at Roundy Elementary School. Having a passion for young learners, Kim says, “I want math and science to come alive. I want stories to leap off the pages. I want kids to be excited and challenged by every learning opportunity.” There is no doubt that Kimberly is accomplishing these goals. Just take a look at the photos included!

Kimberly lives with her husband, two children, three dogs, two bunnies, and her many fish in Las Vegas. Kim, the kids are so lucky to have you, as are we!

SPOTLIGHT SITE - St. Jude's Ranch for Children


November's Spotlight Site is St Jude’s Ranch for Children in Boulder City, NV. We chose St. Jude'sdue to their strong commitment to our community and the dedication of their hard-working staff. St Jude’s Ranch is a nonprofit organization that provides a safe haven for children who are victims of abuse, abandonment and homelessness. Children arrive at St. Jude’s struggling to keep up with their peers in school and are sometimes as much as two years behind where they should be academically. Andson was grateful for the opportunity to partner with St Jude’s Ranch and this is what Christine Spadafor, St Jude’s Ranch CEO, had to say about Andson: “Our partnership with the Andson Organization has miraculously helped these children catch up and be competitive in school, and be able to stand toe to toe with their peers academically. With Andson, they have consistent tutors who work closely with the school system, and seeing the same people week after week in helping to reestablish that trust, only furthers help enhance their success in school. Prior to the Ranch’s partnership with Andson, we struggled to find a consistent, effective tutoring program for our children, and Andson is the perfect partner for us.”

To see more, please watch the short video below:

Dear Friends, (Jan 2014)


Dear Friends: All of us at Andson, Inc. would like to take this opportunity to wish you all the Very Best for 2014.  We are so very proud of the many milestones we reached in 2013.  And we thank all of our Supporters and Partners who helped us accomplish each of them.  We are looking forward to continually working together to deliver our much-needed programs to students across the valley.

We kicked off the New Year with the most amazing party for our team of Board Members, Tutors, Admin Staff and our Community Partners on January 11, 2014.  A heartfelt Thank You to Southern Highlands Golf Club and Southern Wine and Spirits for their incredibly generous contributions, support and partnership.

On New Year’s Eve 2013, we launched our new website powered by Larym Design.  Please do take the time to visit and re-visit it, as it is being continually updated with additional details of our activities and services in Las Vegas, Henderson, and Boulder City.

Throughout the month of January, our Academic Team will be busy conducting our very own Aims Web Testing for our hundreds of registered students, while continually streamlining and structuring the Homework Help and Tutoring at our eleven locations in Clark County.

At the same time our Financial Literacy Team will be delivering January’s Financial Literacy Lessons to all 25 classrooms at Bracken Elementary School.  We continually strive to utilize the most current materials, so lessons are revised on an ongoing basis. We thank our partners, United Way’s YPS, Silver State Schools Credit Union, and Bracken Elementary School for this successful collaboration.

Additionally, the Team is gearing up to start the second series of our Financial Literacy Workshops at Desert Oasis High School in the latter part of January.  Approximately 1,200 juniors and seniors will benefit from these lessons.

Early February, the Academic Team will launch our Homework Help and Tutoring Program at Sunrise Acres Elementary School through the City of Las Vegas.  We are eagerly looking forward to launching a new pilot of our supplemental after school assistance to the students at that location.

Taking on yet another challenge, we are currently developing a GED preparatory curriculum, which will be deployed early this spring.  Through a partnership with St. Jude's Ranch for Children, this program will serve young adults currently in transitional housing and/or aging out of the foster care system.

Again, thank you all for continued support, and for making 2013 an incredible year of success.  Together we will make 2014 an even better year!




Andson gets big in Texas

It's always a dilemma - the work we do in Financial Literacy is great, why not take it national? Our answer is usually "No," followed by a statement on how you would lose the aspect of mentoring, the quality will be diminished, curriculum less effective etc. But what if we were approached by a group that was willing to recreate the culture of mentorship, and not attempt to use volunteers or one-time teachers for a lesson?

We have had the amazing opportunity of licensing our curriculum to a passionate group of educators. The Comal Independent School District approached Andson to use the Andson Money Curriculum at the Fourth Grade Level for 18 schools. (Aside - how in the world would Andson be known in Texas, you ask? The introduction was made by way of friends at St. Jude's Ranch for Children - they operate campuses both in Boulder City, NV and San Antonio, Texas. Without The Ranch, we would have not been prompted to visit the Lone Star State). Andson co-branded and developed the materials, lessons and presentations to work for the demographic of Comal ISD - a district roughly the size of New Jersey.

What we've realized however is that our goal of supporting Southern Nevada doesn't mean our products and services just stay in Southern Nevada.

Look at this opportunity: First, there is a licensing cost - which means that Andson can have a stream of revenue that goes back to help us develop further products and services; Second, with the right partner, our commitment to mentorship and small, strong quality programs can continue. Comal goes above and beyond to pick the best instructors possible for our curriculum - we went down in early October to train 17 instructors. Some were long time substitutes that have been assigned to a particular school (and know that school's students well), some worked for the local Communities in Schools program, two were even school principals. Needless to say we were able to checkmark the criterion for passion.

Thirdly, and most importantly is the feedback and development opportunity. We have just opened our curriculum up to a feedback loop including 1,250 new students - something that would take a massive staff on Andson's part to facilitate locally. Comal ISD and Andson will continue expanding till we are able to blanket the Elementary level, hopefully developing a feeder alignment and carry these students through their entire schooling with targeted lesson on Financial Literacy.

Exposing our curriculum to new bodies of students means we can move exponentially faster to make our products and services even stronger - nearly impossible to match solely with local staff. Andson, for example, will monitor the Pre and Post Test assessments and will have access to feedback on Parental Engagement via homework assignments. These pieces will go back into Research and Development here locally, and then get rolled out to any licensees we may have in the future.

This may be small win for other organizations that are built with revenues and licensing in mind. But for Andson, the idea that we can build a culture and climate in Financial Education from 2000 miles away, and retain some control, is an empowering concept. We are so excited to open up the doors for licensing and for our new counterparts in the Lone Star State.

Thanks to our friends at St. Jude's Ranch for making the connections, and we hope that Andson will get as big as everything else in Texas!

And of course, if interested in licensing, feel free to contact us via the website - we'd love to explore a new relationship.

Andson Academics needed! Tutoring Landscape Changes for 2013-14

As we wrap up our Summer Reading Program, our amazing Back 2 Class Bash and approach this new school year - our services are proving to be more valuable to Southern Nevada than ever before. The reality is, as state funding to schools and other entities to provide academic support dwindles, there are less organizations providing tutoring and academic support Andson Academics - which makes our role even more critical.A recent article from Education Week reports:

Many companies that once provided supplemental education services, or tutoring mandated at academically struggling schools under the No Child Left Behind law, are now scrambling to find new streams of income, or have already closed their doors, in the past year. Steve Pines, president of the Education Industry Association, said that at its peak several years ago, about 2,500 companies and other organizations were approved to work with students using supplement-services funding allocated to improve students' academic performance. About half of the state-approved providers are "commercial entities," according to Pines. Other providers are a mix of school districts themselves, followed by community and faith-based organizations. Today, Pines estimates that the number of organizations providing those services has dropped by 50 percent.


Andson did think at one point that we may apply for some of these various funding sources, but we never have. All of our funding has come from Sonia's initial investment. That said, we are focused this year on securing new, creative ways of funding our programming to make sure our commitment to Southern Nevada can continue for years to come. Our extremely supportive Board has clearly made "thinking outside the box," a general principle in regard to garnering support for an initiative for this upcoming year.


With new agreements with the City of Las Vegas for SAFEKEY locations, our 9 other locations through Boys & Girls Clubs, St. Jude's Ranch for Children, and Communities in Schools as well as interest from various other community partners - this is only our beginning. This school year we have agreed to 13 total sites, with two additional sites in discussion.


Although we have a business background and can apply some very atypical strategies to fundraising, programming and curriculum, we continue to passionately operate Andson as the organization it is - one truly committed to our community. We are focused, and ready for this school year!

Andson Receives Pinnacle Achievement Award

Just in time for the new academic year, we are elated and honored to be recognized by State Treasurer Kate Marshall and the National Association of State Treasurers for our efforts in fostering Financial Literacy.  We have worked, and continue to work tirelessly to develop and deliver innovative curriculums that encourage students to think critically about personal finance.  The new school year brings new projects for Andson in the Financial Literacy front and we look forward to expanding our partnerships to give more students access to the knowledge they need to improve their quality of life.

“The Andson Orgaization, in part through the efforts of Matt Hirsch, has been a great community partner, complementing the Treasurer’s Office efforts to drive and foster financial literacy education in the Clark County School District.  ‘The Piggybank Project’ has served as a model program for helping kids and parents to understand financial concepts, and to encourage money saving habits, while building decision making skills regarding money."

Download Press Release

Are we the new Life Coach for kids?

When we go out and promote Andson to a possible partner or client (aka parents and kids) we try to convey the dynamic of mentorship in all our activities. The reason we are so good at what we do is because there is no off-the-shelf program for our youth - we must connect with them in 2013 and meet them where they're at.  

That said, more and more parents (and adults in general) are extremely aware of the lack of life skills that our students and youth receive these days. It's enough to spark the conversation of where these skills can be best curated - home or school, parents or teachers. That's a different article entirely, however.


What I am realizing more and more is that Andson, through providing academic support and performance programs, financial literacy programs etc., isn't just about facilitating curriculum - it's about motivation of young people through our passion.


What we're building here for Southern Nevada is a whole lot more than any program. I'm starting to feel that we are life coaches for K-12. That is, we can inspire, motivate, reward and see how many of the 4,000 students we've impacted this past year succeed through the seeds we plant.


Just look at what we're doing at the Back 2 Class Bash with Raising Canes and the TEAching stand. Yes, it's a beta program - this is the first run at it. We're not looking at this simply as an entrepreneurial lesson, however. Andson is teaching the concept of volunteerism and taking the money smarts you learn through business back to your own personal finances. This lesson is geared toward middle schoolers to learn through immersion.


Whether it's receiving a letter that a high school student is now teaching their mother about banking, or having an elementary student run into one of our tutoring locations to show us their report card, our programs are creating an element of motivation in young people that really parodies what you see out of these adult life coaching programs.


This is a service economy, and we certainly provide a service. Through our continuing passion, however, we are providing more than any single program ever can.

Learn, Act, Learn - Financial Literacy gets rethought for High School Students

Andson Academics has become our flagship service - a tutoring program that scales well, serves our communities, and creates partnerships and collective impact. The Academic Assistance model is constantly attended to - we take pride in the tweaks that make the program better and better.  

That said, Financial Literacy has really taken off as a core component of what we do here at Andson. This past year was absolutely pivotal in the way we view and develop our Financial Literacy curriculums.  Nearly 2,000 unique students in 2012-2013 have already been directly reached by our Financial Literacy programming.


What we learned from the Piggybank Project at Bracken Elementary was that it's not about just one workshop of programming - not a five to eight week period. Rather, Andson's role in 2013 is to carry a student through multiple iterations of curicula. We start at the Kindergarten grade level and work our way through 5th grade. It was an amazing program that will really prove its effectiveness as we see this year's 1st graders all the way through their elementary graduation.


So, we started thinking, how can we accomplish the same at the High School level? How do we start with tiered curriculum, one that strengthens impact with every year until graduation?


What we've developed is a new way of looking at our high school students' needs. This is no longer a few weeks of interaction - this is about implementation over 3+ years.


At the Sophomore level, we explain the importance of grades, volunteerism in our community, and understanding needs vs. wants.


At the Junior level, we begin to plant the seed of the importance of education on future earning potential, and how to creatively fund your college education.


At the Senior level - we give them the full Andson curriculum, working with them for a greater understanding of personal finance.

What we estimate is that nearly half of the students we start with, we get to work with in their Senior year. For the others (due to transiency rate, etc) they will have seeds planted that they would not have otherwise experienced. This model is a complete work in progress - we've written some grant requests and hope to start this with Communities in Schools in the 2013-14 school year at Chaparral High Sschool.

Andson is committed to the idea of "Learn, Act, Learn" - no two schools or years should ever be exactly alike. Our materials have always, and will always cater to the student. This is how we personally can guarantee the greatest possible impact through our Financial Literacy workshops.

Letter from Leadership

Dear Friends,

I am delighted to share the news of our progress and the remarkable milestones we have accomplished over the last few months. As one of the leading organizations providing Academic and Financial Literacy Education to the children and youth of Southern Nevada, we deliver a full range of unique and innovative learning programs across the valley.

For the past few years, our fundraising efforts have been quite minimal. In many ways, we have been shy about asking others for money before proving results. But April catapulted our philanthropic quest to a whole new level as Andson joined the selected group of charities that benefit from the Annual Governor's Black-Tie Invitational. With a wonderful gift of $80K, the Southern Highlands Charitable Foundation is fueling our work to equip students with the tools they need to achieve intellectual growth and academic success.

May marked the completion of the 2012-2013 school year. Eight months in which over 2,500 students across the Las Vegas Valley received supplemental education through our Academic Assistance program and tailored Financial Literacy classes. We graduated approximately 800 students in our Homework Help & Tutoring program with notable improvements of one to two grade levels in all areas – these students enjoyed pizza parties and received certificates of achievement! Simultaneously, almost 2,000 students from kinder to high school seniors at three different public schools learned the basics of personal finance and money saving habits.

May also marked the installation of a diverse and fully functional Board of Directors. Armed with a new president, secretary and treasurer, we are prepared to embark on a strategic planning process that will allow us to grow sustainably, deepening in breadth and impact. Moving into the summer season, we all look forward to continuing our efforts in education by delivering a summer reading program and hosting Andson's Back to Class Bash on Saturday, August 3rd – sponsored by St. Rose Dominican Hospitals and the Southern Highlands Community Association.

On behalf of the Board of Directors and Staff, we would like to thank you for your friendship and hope that you will consider joining our various initiatives – together we can make a difference!

Kindest regards,[spacing amount=20]

Sonia McTaggart-Anderson Founder and CEO


Andson Academics helps education now.

Over the next several weeks, we will celebrate, as thousands of students graduate from high schools, colleges and universities. Unnoticed, however, will be the additional thousands who will not graduate.  With less than 61 % of Clark County’s high school students graduating, and a very small percentage of those graduates attending college, we trail the rest of the country in the area of a qualified pool of future employees, and an educated workforce. We, as a community, have much work to do to.  

Clark County School District (CCSD) is the 5th largest school district in the country.  As of March 2013, there were more than 311,000 students enrolled in our schools, 71% of Nevada's public school population resides in our school district.  This disparity creates a tremendous hardship on our school system to serve our students adequately.  The fact that our district is underfunded is a much known statistic, one that is being widely addressed in our legislative sessions and political public hearings.  Those efforts will no doubt result in increased funding for our region in the near future.  Meanwhile, however, we cannot neglect the tens of thousands of students that are currently struggling in their daily studies and are in danger of dropping out of school, and simply go unaccounted for.


Early education, and giving our children the tools to succeed isn’t an idea we should strive towards, it’s what we need to do.  Excuses as to why our children are not performing at national standards are not appropriate at this time. Early involvement has a direct impact on low income and other demographics that are at a high risk of falling behind.  Many children arrive at school enrollment already behind.  A recipe for failure is already in place, if additional support is not provided to these students to bring them to the appropriate level of knowledge.  Building a child’s vocabulary, and teaching him or her to count to 100 at the earliest age sets the platform for success in a classroom and, ultimately, in life. As a community, we, the business leaders need to inspire Southern Nevada’s citizens to get involved, whether by way of time, and or resources. Together we can give the children of Clark County a better chance to succeed.  The students in our district today, will be Southern Nevada’s work force tomorrow.  Lets give them the opportunity to contribute and build our economy.


English Language Learners (ELL) is a significant portion of our student population, recent figures show that over 53,000 of CCSD students are enrolled in ELL services, but according to teachers’ reports, approximately 100,000 students are identified as ELL.  These students will ultimately fall behind their peers if additional resources and services are not provided to them.  Nevada has the highest percentage of ELL students with little or no resources directed to their specific needs.  With such a predominant role in the composition of our student population ELL students’ success rates have a direct impact on the performance of our school district and our state.  To ignore the needs of this demographic will hinder the performance for the entire Southern Nevada School system.


We have a tremendous task ahead to transform our education system and work collectively to ensure that the children of our community will experience the thrill of "donning the cap and gown with a sense of pride and achievement", and progress to become an educated and successful generation. This will not be a quick fix; it will take us, the employers, community leaders, and entrepreneurs to make the commitment to provide our students with the support, tools, and resources they need to succeed. Our students cannot wait another two or three years, for legislature to take effect. Southern Nevada cannot wait on legislation to improve the value of our city.  "Every two years is another two years of students who will not pass the critical third grade reading gauge, two years of dismal sophomore math scores, two years of an unacceptable graduation rate, and two years of widening the gap between opportunity and achievement. We, as a community, need the transformation to begin today"


After school programs such as what we at Andson provide to students, are the roadways to their success. With as little as one hour per day of personal or small group attention, students, on average improve as much as two grade levels in reading and math.  Although a large majority of the students we serve are ELL and/or children for low-income families, this need is not limited to these demographics.  We live in a world of the Hospitality Industry; most of our professional- working parents are employed within that field.  In the evenings, when the children are in need of assistance and discipline with homework and studies, parents are, unfortunately, working. Their children need our support just as much, so that the parents can continue to be part of our educated workforce.


“Homework not only reinforces what was learned in the classroom, it also teaches and develops independent learning skills. In the early years of a child's education, little homework is given. Simple math problems, studying spelling, practicing handwriting, and reading are typical homework assignments of an early learner. These are all skills that are best learned by repetition and practice. These are also the skills that must be mastered before the student is introduced to more advanced concepts. Homework is an effective method of reinforcing these skills. Students who practice their spelling words become adults who can spell. Students who practice their multiplication tables have an easier time learning division. Students who do homework every night learn skills that are necessary for educational success.

Students learn about their own learning styles.

Most children do not like homework. A student’s dislike of homework, or rather their like for everything that is not homework, will motivate students to get through their homework quicker to get to the things that they want to do. Though this may seem like a bad thing, it motivates students to find what method of learning works best for them. As children advance through school, more homework is given. Students who have found which methods of learning work best for them will have an easier time managing loads of homework in the future.


Homework is a necessary part of learning. It helps students develop their own independent learning skills and use them in a time effective manner. Skills learned through doing homework will allow students to enjoy success in the classroom and in their adult lives.”


Through partnerships with organizations such as the Boys and Girls Clubs, Communities in Schools, St. Judes Ranch for Children, Walter Bracken Elementary School, Vegas PBS, and several others within the valley, Andson Academics provides the assistance, guidance, discipline and reinforcements to hundreds of students throughout the school year.  It is our determination and goal to encourage a lifelong love for learning amongst our young citizens and to provide them with the assistance they need along the way.  With that foundation in place, and with the support of our business and community leaders, we will produce successful and productive citizens.

600 Desert Oasis High School Seniors' Debt Workshop

Desert Oasis Highschool, Check.Andson lesson built on Debt, Check. 600 High Schoolers, Check (gulp). 1 Day. (Wow!)


We had the opportunity April 23rd to teach 6 sessions to Desert Oasis Seniors on Debt, Credit, and Creative Funding of College education.


While this was a bit different for Andson, it was an awesome day! Not only were students informed on the concept of interest rates, predatory lending, and to "think outside the box" in regards to funding college, but we also had 5 individual students looking for mentoring relationships through our program.




This was one of those days that put a smile on our faces - not only can we make a positive impact on so many students in one day, we can engage with a handful of students to achieve short-term and long-term goals through budgeting and planning.


Here is the lesson we taught:


Thanks to Desert Oasis for having us. Word is, they want our whole course for seniors next year.

Growing Leaps & Bounds - Andson & The 2013 Governor's Black Tie Invitational

We continue to reach milestones on all fronts!


Andson has attended the Governor's Black Tie for the past 3 years. It has always been an amazing event - but this year was something special. This year, Andson was one of 8 beneficiaries selected by the Southern Highlands Charitable Foundation! We were absolutely thrilled about this opportunity.


The recognition as a leader on the forefront of educational activities in Southern Nevada means so much to us. We want to impact as many students as possible, and this fuels our programs in such a meaningful way.


It was an inspirational moment to have Train performing while one of our videos played about the work we do. It doesn't get much better than when the team gets to be on the big screen!



This year we added two new locations to our Homework Help & Tutoring Program, and the program itself went from 180 to 800 students. In addition to the 5-lesson course at Walter Bracken Elementary School, we have now expanded to include workshops at Chaparral High School, Desert Oasis High School and Nevada State College!


We have also been favored by the increased recognition and support of the community; not only in the number of friends and volunteers that genuinely believe in our mission, but in the vote of confidence that generous donors and local philanthropists are putting into our work.


The Governor's Black-Tie Invitational marked a very special milestone for us and it is a perfect example of what a community can accomplish. Over $14 million dollars has been distributed to organizations in our community as a result of this tremendous effort.


And, did we mention Train performed on Friday Night!



A special thank you to all those in attendance.  Thank you to all those in support of what we do!

Behavioral Finance and Andson - worksheets alone don't work

A statistics professor in my MBA program made a statement on the first day of class, "I can train you how to be a $10 calculator, or I can train you how to think."  Obviously, gone are the days of living without smart phones, auto-correct and calculators.


So why are we still teaching personal finance as textbook terms and definitions?  Why are we spending time on the things that students will inevitably forget; more importantly the things that they can easily look up on their phones? (Please Note: We do worry about many students' capability to spell and do simple math, but that's why we created Andson Academics).


We need to teach them that knowledge equals power. When faced with questions about IRA accounts, APRs or the details of an annuity, do some research on Google, instead of believing the salesman.  We need to be able to instill that delayed gratification and PYF (pay yourself first) gives them spending choices and spending power.


Behavioral Finance is the term that is gaining ever-so-much momentum right now in this field.  That is, instead of teaching a student about textbook definitions, let's teach them how to think about finance.


  • What should I be leery of?
  • When does an interest rate raise a red-flag?
  • What are the fees that will be involved?
  • Where can I go for help outside of a payday loan?


All of these are examples of teaching young people how to think about their money.  Time Business & Money has a great article right now on the concept of changing behaviors instead of just teaching facts.  We couldn't agree more and in fact pride ourselves and our programs on providing more than just a workbook or worksheet.


Roth, who runs the infamous blog Get Rich Slowly admits that he himself learned all the "basic financial literacy," in his senior year of high school, but was no better because of it.


Roth goes on to say that personal finance is something internal for most people - though for many there is definitely a cycle of poverty they need to overcome.  What needs to be taught is that in order to make a change, it needs to happen within us.  Otherwise it's just like a fad diet - you always end up back at square one.


I myself cannot begin to count the amount of times that we see young people that just don't want to end up in the same debtor situations they've seen friends or family end up in.  Many times that's enough and it works.  More often than not though, one is the sum of their surroundings; so bringing a fresh way of thinking and perspective into the classroom is more important than ever.


Let's continue with a mission to change behavior in our students, and not just make them calculators and dictionaries when it comes to personal finance.



Time Business & Money


JD Roth


Get Rich Slowly


Having Fun While Learning About Money!

What can we do to make it fun for children to learn about money management? How about add music? That is exactly what the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) and the Charles Schwab Foundation are doing, and children are jumping at the opportunity to learn and be apart of the experience. The Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the Charles Schwab Foundation are making an impact on teens that are learning about finances in a fun way. The two organizations have worked together to start the Money Matters Music Mogel (M4) contest that incorporates the Money Matters: Make It Count programs with music, allowing teens to have fun while learning. The Money Matters program teaches teens about money managing skills at more than 2,900 Boys & Girls Clubs across the country. The contest has teens take what they have learned in the program and allows them to incorporate the knowledge into original lyrics that are accompanied by beats created by Grammy-nominated Kevin “Khao” Cates.

Once the songs are created, they are put to a vote and the winner receives $1,000 in scholarship funds and $1,000 to his or her BGCA club. Also, the winner will have the opportunity to create a music video to go with the song. Four finalists receive $500 each.

The previous winner was from our very own town of Las Vegas! Syretha Shirley of the Boys & Girls Club of Las Vegas won with her song, “Time is Money”. Congratulations Syretha! I wonder who the next winner will be?



youtube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8LgUv8VGag


Missing School Can Have A Huge Impact On Students

Your child has been sick for a few days and now he or she is feeling better, but you think that missing one more day will be no big deal. Think again! Missing school can make an impact on a child's education in the future. Of course, a child can always make up work but will that child really be getting the proper education that he or she will need for the future courses and material learned.

Of course parents are aware that missing school is not a good thing for students, but often times parents do not even notice how many days their child is really missing. And it is not their fault for not knowing.

According to new studies found in a recent article done by USA Today, 90% of students come to school. Though that percentage looks desirable,  where are the other 10% of students? Approximately 7.5 million students miss a month of school each year. These “chronically absent” students become at “high-risk” of dropping because of the challenges they face academically as a result of missing school for long periods of time.

Many parents often do not recognize the issue because they are not presented with an overall report of absences. Each parent receives a report card four times a year. The quarterly report shows the individual, quarterly absences, but there is no summary at the end of the year with all the absences on one report. Perhaps making parents aware of the effect of absences on academic performance might result in an increase in the success rate of graduating students.

Children are bound to get sick, and will have to miss school for sick or personal issues, but there must be a way to keep track of how many days a student will be missing. It is important for students to learn the lesson of the day in the classroom environment where he or she will be able to ask questions and get the help he or she needs when struggling with learning. We want our children to overcome challenges in the future.



When did you have your Financial A-Ha! moment?

Some people are born financially savvy, some learn from their parents.  Even more, however, may never learn - and hence struggle for years, living paycheck-to-paycheck and paying high interest rates.  

When reading Kentin Waits' article recently regarding his financial awareness, I realized that there are such pivotal moments in the lives of young people, that we have got to keep doing what we do, because if Andson can provide this for even one student, then it's all worth it.


Waits, at 13, was allowed to manage the $120 per month Social Security benefit allotted him.


This article isn't pivotal, it's not as if he's a millionaire now.  What it gave him, though, was even more beneficial - it gave him the groundwork to think about money; really think about it.  You can "be born" with a sense of frugality, but in reality it comes from societal influences and culture - whether in the home or a little further out.  Personal Finance is absolutely a learned behavior. Waits was given the opportunity to learn.


I had that same moment at one point in my life, the first time I couldn't pay my credit card off the same month it was due.  It took a little longer than Waits, I was 18, but it sunk in nonetheless.


Those are the moments we want to provide to students and youth through Andson's activities.  It's why we are working on The Piggybank Project, why we are expanding our reach in 2013 to High Schools, it's why we exist.


So, we ask you, have you had that "A-Ha" moment yet?



Picture via Flickr (Creative Commons license) by_evilpeacock

Kentin Waits' article on wisebread.com

Mentoring Empowers. Period.

At Andson, we are striving to diversify our programs and give back in our local and surrounding communities in exciting new ways.  Being that we are a small group - this is easier said than done.  One area that we want to expand on is mentoring.  This has not been a mass effort - nor has it been achieved on a broad scale.


The impacts we've made however, certainly are significant to those we've mentored.


Most youths mean well - they may have a few traits that need "tweaking," or they could even need guidance that is lacking on the home or school front.  We want to touch on two cases that were encountered in the past few months where individuals from Andson have made genuine impacts on the lives of young people.



Jason is a youth from a Boys & Girls Club who had his future in order - he graduated from high school knowing exactly what he wanted to do with his life (culinary career), had the certifications to do so (through his unique charter school), and proved to be an outstanding youth in the club, at his school, and in the community.  One area that he struggled in, however, were the finer points of reading- as in completing the long, complicated paperwork that many teens have assistance with from parents or guidance counselors.  Jason had never moved forward on his FAFSA form; each time, he either had computer issues, or didn't know how to complete a particular section.  He was on his own, and the deadline was approaching.  An individual here at Andson was able to assist him through this process (as well as document it for our blog) and got his application in on time.  It wasn't that he didn't want to complete the application - he knew the financial consequences if he didn't - but he really needed someone there to make sure he checked the right boxes and read through each individual section.  He may have not completed this application on time, and may have missed out on a semester of college without our help.


The time then came where Jason wanted to get his driver's license.  He called upon Andson to help with studying for the written portion of the test.  Confused, but happy to help, we came to his rescue, and found he had failed the driver's test 3 different times.  Jason could drive, he was even a good driver - but reading through the questions and preparing for a written exam was not his strength.  Here was a young adult that works extremely well in his trade, but needed assistance with 2 very important pieces of growing up.


Bobby is our second example.  Here is a boy whose parents had no intention of trying to raise him with any sense of values or morals.  At the age of 7, Bobby had never been to school, and had been encouraged to steal when necessary for his "family." Through nothing short of a miracle, he was able to be adopted by another family member and moved to a home that encourages healthy habits - one of those being actually attending school.  By finding out about Bobby, we were able to work with him over the summer and help improve his reading skills, closer to that of a first grade level.  It was also amazing to see his personality transform so quickly from untrusting and removed, to that of what a child should be.  He is now involved in Andson Academics, after- school tutoring program to solidify the work done over the summer.


These are just two examples of how individual-to-individual relationships can change futures.  Andson wants to explore methods for mentoring youths of all ages and various backgrounds.  We hope to make this a core activity of our organization in the near future.


(names changed for privacy)

April 18th - got your taxes done? Here's a list of celebs and athletes that didn't...

During Unit 2 ( Budgeting) of our workshops, we like to take a moment to talk about how even the rich and famous need to budget.  Often times we mention Hollywood actors that have lost all their wealth just because they couldn't budget.  Most of the time, taxes are a major problem for these stars.  The only reasonable explanation that seems likely is that these celebrities don't pay taxes each paycheck like the rest of us - and they spend it faster than it's coming in.


MSN has put together a list of 15 celebrities that didn't make their deadlines for tax day in the past.  It's a great read that will likely get incorporated into future workshops for Andson.  Here's the highlights:


  • #14 - Rapper Xzibit owes nearly $1 million dollars.  He claims money problems began due to the cancellation of "Pimp my Ride."  The clencher - Xzibit's Range Rover was a lease...
  • #11 - Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne owe $1.7 million in back taxes.  The saddest part of this story is that their daughter, Kelly Osbourne, already owes $34,000 herself.  If that isn't motivation for what the Andson Organization is trying to do...
  • #7 - Marc Anthony owes $3.4 million in taxes.  This after a 2007 settlement of $2.5 million in taxes.
  • #6 - Rapper Lil' Wayne may owe as much as $5.6 million after a recent $1.13 million dollar payment to the IRS.
  • #1 - This one comes all the way from Australia - Crocodile Dundee star Paul Hogan allegedly owes Australia approximately $37 million in taxes!


There's more detail in the article.  Go straight to the source at the bottom to read the whole thing - it's definitely an eye-opener.


So, remember that even though your tax bill may be high today, someone almost always has one higher.  Who knows, maybe some of these stars will actually make the deadline since we got 3 extra days in the U.S. this year (sorry Mr. Hogan).

Edit:  Wow, just a few days after the celebs list - looks like CNBC has put out a list of star athletes that has gone a similar route - 15 Athletes Who Have Gone Broke.


Celebrities Source:  Wonder Wall via MSN

Athletes Source:  via CNBC

Managing Your Credit (and Credit Score)

So we've touched on how to check your Credit Report before, but the site Lifehacker.com recently posted an article entitled "How to Effectively Manage Your Credit Reputation," which goes into further detail of making sense of the mess of Credit History that we deal with as adults.

We really liked their idea of the difference between your Credit Report and your Credit Score:


The Difference Between Your Credit Report and Your Credit Score.


Your credit report includes all the gory details about your personal financial history. Your credit score is a 3 digit number in the 300 - 850 range (depending on the bureau) that is normalized and used to predict the likelihood you will default on a loan within 12 months. Because each bureau has different data, you actually have 3 credit scores. In addition to the credit bureaus differences, there are also different credit scoring algorithms in use. FICO is the most popular, but there are dozens of different credit scores in use.

Credit scores fall in these general categories:

Excellent: 750 - 850 Good: 700- 750 Fair: 620-700 Subprime: 550 - 620 High risk: 300 - 550


They also say that the best way to get your report is to use AnnualCreditReport.com.


Another really awesome idea that Lifehacker points out that wasn't mentioned in our last article is the dispute process:

There are two things you can do to resolve negative items. First, you should immediately call the credit reporting agency in question and dispute the issue directly (Transunion: 1-800-916-8800, Experian: 1-800-493-1058, Equifax has an online dispute process). Second, if you think you may be the victim of identity theft, you should enable fraud alert protection with all of the credit bureaus. This is a free service - distinctly different from credit monitoring or fraud protection that companies charge monthly fees for.

Check out the whole article over at Lifehacker.com