A Johns Hopkins-based financial literacy program is
doing its part to prevent a future global
economic crisis, one Baltimore high schooler at a time.
Created by junior Lucas Kelly-Clyne and taught by two
Carey Business School
the Future is a 12-week after-school course that starts
with basic skills like opening a checking
account and knowing the difference between credit and debit
cards, and then builds up to more
advanced investment concepts like understanding the stock
Each Wednesday this fall, Kelly-Clyne and four fellow
undergraduate tutors have joined finance
faculty members Kwang Soo Cheong and Ken Yook in teaching
the course to 20 students at the
Academy for College and Career Exploration, an "innovation
high school" operated by the
Institute for Policy Studies. The program receives
funding from the Center
for Social Concern.
"I feel great to be a part of this project," said
Cheong, an associate professor. "It's timely in
the sense that these high school students get to understand
some of the financial terms that they
frequently hear from media or overhear from adults'
conversations during the current financial crisis."
While such courses for children and teens are common,
Save the Future's relationship with the
Carey Business School separates it from the pack,
Kelly-Clyne said: While conducting research for his
business plan, he found that no other programs have
attempted to form a unique partnership with an
American university to create a certificate program like
Save the Future. (Students are slated to
receive their certificates in financial literacy during a
ceremony on campus in December.)
The pilot program began on Sept. 10, a few days before
Wall Street's collapse. But Kelly-Clyne
had already spent the past two years developing Save the
Future, inspired by his own burgeoning
interest in the stock market and his realization that young
people need a better grasp on the ins and
outs of the financial world.
"I had done some tutoring [with high school students]
but had taken a break from it," said
Kelly-Clyne, a political science major with a minor in the
Whiting School's W.P. Carey Program in
Entrepreneurship & Management. "I was disillusioned with
the impact I was having. I wasn't sure I was
getting through to them. So I thought about what high
school kids really need to know and came up
with this program. Students walk away with skills for
professional success and an important resume
credential in a competitive environment."
The final execution of the program came together
quickly this past summer when Kelly-Clyne
approached Pamela Cranston, vice dean for operations at the
Carey Business School, with his business
plan. Cranston then suggested Cheong and Yook to help
launch the program, which Yook said fits with
the vision that their dean, Yash Gupta, has for the Carey
"The Carey Business School is committed to
transforming business education through a
humanistic approach," said Yook, an associate professor.
"Faculty, students and staff are encouraged
to be attentive to critical social issues. Certainly
reaching out to the local community should be a first
step in this endeavor."
For Cheong, the most appealing part of the project was
the chance to work with young people.
"Helping high school students enhance their financial
literacy is such a rewarding opportunity to
provide the long-lasting benefit of education to those who
will soon enter our society through various
Working with teenagers requires switching gears for
professors accustomed to dealing with
graduate students, Cheong said. A big challenge is to make
the lecture interesting from a high school
student's perspective. "An adult student would typically
bring up an example of gas or food prices if
she wants to speak about inflation these days; however, our
classroom discussion about inflation was
centered around the price of a haircut because an increase
in the haircut price is more relevant and
real for these high school students since they themselves
make the payment and remember what they
paid in the past."
The professors said they are pleased by the hard work
Kelly-Clyne and the other undergraduate
tutors — Andrew Boudreau, Sameer Bhalla, Andrew Xiao
and Riaz Virani — have invested in the project.
"I was impressed by their driving force to launch this
program so rapidly," Yook said. "When I
talked to them in July, I didn't expect that they could
launch this program in September. Also, their
sincere humanistic desire to help out inner city teenagers
is evident. As our young generation is taking
a growing interest in social issues, I believe we are
headed for a brighter future."