Monday, February 28, 2011

"Your Money, Your Future" with Financial Educator, Carmen Johnson

“School Budget Cuts ”

A few weeks back we discussed the importance of maintaining a household budget. If only law makers and lobbyists could use the same simple tactics when balancing the budget for their respective state, town or city. The fact of the matter is that in a country rooted in democracy we'll never all agree on the same issues. We'll have differences in opinions and professional dislikes but we can't allow our disagreements to get us off track.

Recently, my foundation sent a group of students from a local high-school to our capitol in Annapolis to speak with delegates about the budget cuts and how the educational system in Prince Georges County would be negatively impacted. No physical education, less guidance counselors, larger classroom sizes and no ROTC. These are just a few of the items on the table.

As parents, we have to always remember we are responsible for our children. Yes, we want to protest and demand a better educational system but it all starts at home. I encourage you to buy your kids more books to enhance their studies and reading skills. I encourage you to take them to museums and music halls to tap into their artistic minds. Even with budget short falls we can still have great, successful and smart kids. It is time we as parents stand up and make sure we are doing everything we can to teach our kids how to be better students which make better adults for tomorrow.

Until next week this is Your Money Your Future,

I am Carmen Johnson, your Financial Educator and the Founder and CEO of the Katie Able Foundation. Please check us out at the and remember do something to justify your existence, together we can create the Future!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"Your Money, Your Future" with Financial Educator, Carmen Johnson

Today's Reality on Student Loans

This is it! The day you have been waiting for. Your eighteen year old has graduated from high school and is headed to college. You couldn’t be more proud. Sure, you and your spouse have saved a few dollars here and there just for this occasion only to learn that what you had been holding on to isn’t nearly enough to even cover books.

Still excited and determined your child runs home with a FAFSA form. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This form, for some, can be the beginning of the end. Basically, after completing the application and submitting it back to your child’s school of choice your information is shopped around to different banks until funding is approved. Note! I said YOUR information.

What most parents don’t know or even expect is that they may have to co-sign or become the primary signer for their child’s student loan. Reason, the economy has changed and the days of bank lending money to persons with no or limited credit history is over.

So what’s the solution? That’s something that you have to decide. Are you and your spouse in a financial position where you can take on more debt? What are the long term effects that this can have on your credit? Is your credit even up to par to act as a co-signer on a student loan? What other loan or funding options are available for your child? These are all questions that you can consider. I know we love our children but going in to debt for them may not be the answer.

Until next week this is Your money, Your future, I am Carmen Johnson, your Financial Educator and the Founder and CEO of the Katie Able Foundation.

Please check us out at and remember, Do something to justify your Existence, TOGETHER we can create the future!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Parent Talk Presents a Round Table Discussion: A Budget Crisis For Prince George's County Public Schools

Part Two



Date: 2/21/11

Time: 8:00pm-10:00pm

Call-In Number- (914) 803.4591

Website: Parent Talk Live

Parent Talk Presents a Round Table Discussion: A Budget Crisis For Prince George's County Public Schools with:

  • Tonya V. Wingfield, Founder and Executive Director of Nehemiah's Vision

  • Khadijah “Moon” Ali-Coleman an award-winning journalist

  • Jennifer Harris author of PGD9Politico, a blog that focuses on keeping Prince George's County politicians accountable for their decisions and voters.

This is a show for parents and educators to share their views. We want you to call in and express your views and opinions.

Governor O’Malley recently released his proposed FY 2012 budget and it contained a dramatic reduction in education funding. According to Governor O’Malley’s budget education will lose more than 90 million dollars in funding. With such a dramatic cut in education allocations it is bound to have a very unpleasant trickle down effect.

One such impact from the Governor’s budget shaving is the FY2012 budget of Prince George's County Public Schools. The reduction in state education funding will cost Prince George's County Public Schools as much as 20.9 million dollars in revenue and thus create a 2.4% or 85 million budget gap. As a result of the budget deficit Superintendent Dr. William R. Hite proposed a budget with the elimination of over 1,100 county employees to include teachers.

Panelist will discuss:

  • Recent survey regarding PGCPS budget
  • Central office reductions
  • Reduction of teachers
  • Cutting transportation to Speciality Programs
  • Cutting Guidance Counselors
  • Making Pre-K 1/2 a day
  • as well as other topics you would like to discuss

At a February 10, 2011 budget hearing more than 120 teachers, staff, parents and members of the community came to voice their various concerns about the proposed budget cuts and to advocate for their programs. Programs such as Reading-Recovery and critical staff positions as media specialists were clearly presented as a line of demarcation for many in attendance.

The proposed budget presented by Dr. Hite to the BOE has ignited a fervor that has seen the discussion of the possibility of increase class sizes for a second year and a major staff layoff permeate local social media discussion.

Here to provide an assessment of the proposed FY 2012 school budget are three leading community and media experts.

Tonya V. Wingfield

Founder & Executive Director

Nehemiah's Vision, Inc.

Tonya V. Wingfield is the Founder and Executive Director of Nehemiah's Vision, Inc. (NEVI). Prior to establishing NEVI, she worked for over 20 years as an IT training consultant supporting mid-to-large size law firms, government agencies and non-profit organizations. She is an Adjunct Faculty Member at Prince George's Community College where she teaches computer classes as part of the college's Workforce Development Training Program.

Khadijah Ali-Coleman


Liberated Muse Productions

Khadijah “Moon” Ali-Coleman is an award-winning journalist who has served the Washington DC metropolitan area for more than six years, covering education, political and arts news for online, print and broadcast media. Her articles have appeared in dozens of newspapers and magazines, including East of the River, The Washington Informer, District Chronicles, The Baltimore Times, The Afro and The Hill Rag. Nationally, her work has been read on online sites, including, the award-winning music blog, and the national news site where she writes as the DC Community Issues Examiner.

Jennifer Harris

Political Analysts


Jennifer Harris is the author of PGD9Politico, a blog that focuses on keeping Prince George's County politicians accountable for their decisions and voters informed of the facts about their county government. She began blogging last fall, after participating as a volunteer communications manager for the campaign of Tamara Davis Brown, who ran unsuccessfully for County Council in District 9. After knocking on thousands of doors and speaking to hundreds of voters, she felt an urgency to raise awareness about the importance of voting in local elections, where political decisions have the biggest impact on issues people really care about: schools, public safety, transportation, and their quality of life.

An Exclusive Interview with PG County Executive Mr. Rushern Baker

Hello Engaged Parents and Dedicated Educators,

Forest Of The Rain Productions presents An Exclusive Interview with PG County Executive Mr. Rushern Baker. Mr. Baker PG discusses the budget crisis confronting Prince George's County Public Schools and how his Administration plans to support the Board of Education to protect classrooms and students.

This is a pre-recorded interview conducted by Educational Gateway host Michael Robinson on February 14, 2011. You can hear the interview starting at 10:30am today, by clicking on the links below.

An Exclusive Interview with PG County Executive Mr. Rushern Baker
A Round Table Discussion: A Budget Crisis For PGCPS
The Journey Begins Internet Radio

Visit Parents and PGCPS at:

Gladys Noon Spellman Scholarship Applications Available

The Prince George's County Women's History Month Committee has established a scholarship in the memory of Congresswoman Gladys Noon Spellman. Ms. Spellman was a celebrated public servant of Prince George's County for more than two decades.

2011 Gladys Noon Spellman Public Service Award Application
2011 Gladys Noon Spellman Scholarship Application

Applications are accepted prior to the Women's History Month Luncheon that meet with the following criteria for interested candidates:

Candidate must be a Prince George's County resident.
Candidate should be in the 12th grade (accepted into college/or pending).
Candidate should be planning to major in government, criminal justice, political science, public administration, Fire Science or a health related field.
Candidate should have outside interests and activities, including community service.
Candidate must be in good academic standing and demonstrate financial need.
Candidate must be able to attend the Annual Women's History luncheon Thursday, March 17, 2011, at 12pm. Read More

Sunday, February 13, 2011

"Your Money, Your Future" with Financial Educator, Carmen Johnson

What are your financial Goals ?

This week’s financial tip is putting together your financial goals.

At this point you have your monthly budget and you have a pretty good idea what your net worth is. By having your budget and your net worth, you have the tools needed to set your financial goals. Your financial goals can be whatever you want them to be. Perhaps it’s a new car or vacation. It could be repairs on your house or it could be catching up on all your bills. In order to develop good sound goals you must be disciplined and be ready to set and implement your goals. This will make you feel very empowered and in control of your life with your finances. A change in behavior can go a long way in reshaping one’s finances through a sound budget and financial goals. Writing down your financial goals and make them achievable and ways to reach them. Commit to a sound plan and follow through with it. Next you need to prioritize your goals and if they are short term or long term.

Next create a Financial Goal action plan. This action plan identifies the steps needed to make these goals reality. Make sure in your action plan you think about what is needed to accomplish your financial goals. The more detailed and refined your action plan the more successful you will be accomplishing your financial goals. Make sure your goals are realistic and achievable. Financial goal setting allows you to actively work toward achieving your goals you want, to manifest them through action. By learning to calculate your budget, net worth and you financial goals you will have created a solid knowledge base and a foundation for financial health.

Until next week this is Your money, Your future, I am Carmen Johnson, your Financial Educator and the Founder and CEO of the Katie Able Foundation. Please check us out at and remember, Do something to justify your Existence, TOGETHER we can create the future!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Men’s Day Breakfast by Men Aiming Higher

Press Release
Men’s Day Breakfast by Men Aiming Higher
Date: Saturday, February 26, 2011
Time: 9 a.m. to 12 noon
Location: Stone Fish Grill Restaurant, 880 Cap Center Blvd, Largo 20774

Men Aiming Higher is extending an opportunity for the men of the Prince Georges County and surrounding areas to get involved in an organized movement towards enhancing our communities. This function is free of charge and promises to be an event of Change. This is the next step toward the organizations commitment to the surrounding community. Their goal is to provide trained and committed mentors to as many young black males as possible.

The organization desires to support the school system, support our government institutions, law enforcement agencies and other non-government and faith-based institutions by developing a countywide youth mentoring network. Men Aiming Higher is Calling All Men to pledge their allegiance to being a part of the Answer to the many ailments of our community.

Invited Speakers and Honored Guest:
Rushern Baker, Prince Georges County Executive
• Morris Chestnut, Actor
• Dr. Hite, Prince Georges School Superintendent
• Anthony Brown Lieutenant Governor
• Doug Gansler, Maryland State General Attorney

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Katie Able Foundation donates $1000 to 6th Graders

The Katie Able Foundation (KAF) recently donated $1000 to 6th graders at Robert Frost Elementary School, located in Lanham, MD, to use to trade stocks. The students started trading stocks in September 2010 with the help and guidance of their teacher, Mr. William Hughes.

“I must admit when Mr. Hughes came to me and said, ‘Mr. Parker ask the students about them trading stocks,’ you should have seen their faces light up with joy as they shared their stories with me,” said Charles Parker, Vice-President of the Katie Able Foundation. “I learned that these students really understood their stock portfolio and why they selected a particular company over others. This has gone beyond stock trading, it has entered the realm of real life financial experience for these students,” Parker continued.

The students were trading through a program called TeenBiz3000 which is an internet-based, individualized reading and writing teaching solution for grades 6-8. Using $100,000 in their DEMO account they selected companies of their choice; McDonalds, Nike, and Target to name a few.

“I’m really excited about trading. I made a lot of money on the fake account so hopefully I’ll make more on the real one.” said young Neville, 6th grader at Robert Frost Elementary School.

Carmen Johnson, founder of the Katie Able Foundation said, “We wanted to do what we could to help them to continue trading and use the money they earn to make improvements and buy things their school may need throughout the year.”

With the $1000 the students received, they are now able to trade on a LIVE trading account. For more information about how you can donate to the Katie Able Foundation so they can continue to help students in this manner, please visit or call 301-352-5855

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Athletes Drop Out Rate a Crisis in the Making

Dr. Stephen Jones

Springfield, Pa. According to Dr. Stephen Jones each year more than 50 percent of African American students drop out of high school and college. This has a significant impact on athletes who play sports. The drop out rate is greatly affected by poor college preparation and study skills. The lack of academic preparation is evident in middle school and high school. Too often athletes are accepted to college without the preparation they need to graduate. The student athletes’ athletic prowess is valued more than their intellectual abilities. Some athletes are also blindsided when they uncover the huge academic deficits when they start college classes. This crisis will continue because of the abundance of athletes who can replace the athlete who is in academic difficulty.

This problem must be attacked head on. Athletes deserve to be prepared to succeed at all levels. The NCAA requires colleges to have an academic support center. Unfortunately often the academic gap is too large even for the tutors that are assigned to students. Although these students have graduated from high school these students arrive to college academically three and four years behind their peers. Middle schools and high school students must get academically caught up prior to enrolling in the college. Many of these students are coming from schools that are not making Adequate Yearly Progress according to the standards set by No Child Left Behind. There are some very basic elements of the education process that are critical for students to succeed in college and they include the ability to read and compute.

This crisis is not one that we can ignore. Too many extremely bright African Americans are ending up in prison. This includes former college athletes who do not have a degree. Every so many weeks it seems that there is an article about some athlete who is escorted into a court room and sent to jail. This is especially detrimental when they leave a stable wife and children to make it by themselves. This foretells a disastrous educational outcome for their children who cannot afford to attend the better schools.

Some organizations and colleges are tracking the exceptional student athlete as early as ten and twelve year old. Yet attention and devotion to ensuring that they maintain high levels of academic performance is given little attention. It seems that there is a viscous cycle of poor study skills and academic preparation that’s repeated in inner city communities throughout the country. A fundamental academic requirement must be established for athletes early in their K 12 experience. Colleges and school districts must make a greater commitment to these students. There must be a break in the pattern of the deepening despair that has become a viscous cycle for so many athletes who do not graduate. Too many families can point to athletes in their family who have never competed a high school diploma or college degree.

Dr. Stephen Jones is a nationally recognized author who has written the “Seven Secrets of How to Study and the “Parent’s Ultimate Education Guide.” You can contact him at 610-842-3843 and at or visit

Photos of the 2010 Parental Engagement Conference

Your pictures and fotos in a slideshow on MySpace, eBay, Facebook or your website!view all pictures of this slideshow

The Middle School Years

Visits From Engaged Parents and Dedicated Educators