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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – When students graduate high school and eventually enter the workforce for the first time, making and managing money can be overwhelming.

But Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High in Miami-Dade is trying to get ahead of that by preparing students as young as the 14-year olds in ninth grade for future financial success.

In this week’s Mentoring Matters, we meet former economics teacher-turned-real estate investor, Jake Butler.

Butler volunteers his time now, showing kids how to make a lot of money with just a little.

“I buy, sell, and redevelop real estate,” says Butler.

After years teaching high school economics and struggling to make ends meet, Butler wanted to do something where he could make more money.  So, he taught himself how to invest wisely in real estate.

“You know, don’t spend more than you make. Didn’t really know that assets could make money for you,” says Butler.

Now, with his After-School Investing Program, even before the high schoolers graduate they’re learning to make, save, multiply and manage money.

“I used to think, ‘okay, the only way you can make money is to either get a job or you’re done,’” explains student Jeff Changeaux. “But there is other ways you can do it and you don’t even need that much money. All you need is a good mind, a good strategy.”

The students, like Changeaux, are already a bit ahead of the curve as members of the “National Business Honor Society” and the “Business Club”.

Their accounting teacher, Deborah Simmons, sponsors them.

“I’m sure you’ll give it your best over the weekend,” Ms. Simmons smilingly tells Changeaux about his homework.

“What you need is your Cash Flow,” Changeaux starts to explain.

The name of the game here is “Cash Flow”, the computer game developed by the author of the book, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad.”

The games give students real-world financial situations to solve.

“My salary is $13,000. Now that may seem big,” says Changeaux.  “But you also have to look at my total expenses. This is the actual money I have in hand that allows me to like make deals or like do anything in this game.”

Students learn about earning an income, equaling and surpassing their expenses.

And, as in real life, they can get downsized, have a baby, be forced to deal with mounting credit card payments, and have to buy a car or a home. And they have to figure it all out.

“These types of clubs and classes really help out a lot for us,” Changeaux happily says.

The 11th grader says he’s good at math, wants to become an accountant and got his foundation for it all from Ms. Simmons.

His passion grew from there with the lessons from Mr. Butler.

“I learned all about debit, credit, profit/loss, all that from Ms. Simmons,” said Changeaux. “Then after that, I learned about real estate, how to like do deals and also about don’t generally buy high and sell low.”

This is the financial literacy program’s second year at Krop and the goal is to extend it to other schools.

Butler says he learned early on as a child that “a penny saved is a penny earned.”  He says he believes if you help people get what they want, you also get what you want.

“Once you get to a certain level financially, then you gotta give back. You gotta do something,” he said.

And that’s what he’s done for the young minds like Jeff Changeoux and 21 of his other financial literacy classmates.  Just ask Ms. Simmons, who is clearly very proud.

“The students are doing very well,” says the accounting teacher about her students.  “They just learned how to prepare their income statements and balance sheet.  I couldn’t believe like 90% of the students got A’s.”

“For people like me, I feel like this class was really beneficial and really piqued my interest,” says Changeaux.

Adds Butler, “If I had it, I know it would have made a difference. I’m too old now to be 18 again. So there is only one thing I can do is try to do something for somebody else.”

The After-School Investing Program is a couple of days a week for about two hours.

Students even get a $100 monthly stipend if they complete three required criteria each month.

You can find out more about the program and that money-making criteria at the program’s website http://theyouthacademy.miami/

If you are a mentor and would like to share your story with us, please email us at mentoringmatters@cbs.com.

Click here for more Mentoring Matters.

Lauren Pastrana

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