Teens explore finance and overcoming adversity

Brandie Richardson @B_Lifestyles
MYAC members with Mayor Leroy Sullivan, Kevin Richard, Daniel Tapia and organizer Tamiko Garrison.

The Donaldsonville Mayor's Youth Advisory Council sponsored a teen lunch and learn meeting on Saturday, where topics such as financial literacy and life obstacles were discussed.

The first guest speaker was Kevin L. Richard, a finance manager for the Office of Police Secondary Employment in New Orleans. He discussed the importance of having a financial plan and spending money wisely.

"Having a plan, setting goals and accomplishing those goals," Richard said. "People don't understand that money is a tool. We live in a capitalistic society where nothing works without a dollar being exchanged. Once you understand how and why dollars are exchanged, you will be able to take that money and use it as a tool to build a life that you want to have."

He referenced examples such as people spending their money on luxury vehicles such as BMW's. Though they may look nice, they add no value to life as they are a liability, something you will always have to pay for, he said, adding it's essentially like throwing money down the drain.

However, buying things such as a house is an asset, something that adds value and appreciates over time.

"My initiative is to promote sound financial principals and give people the tools they need to be well off in life," he said. "Don't seek money, follow your passion and if you can make money doing your passion you will be wealthy on both ends."

The second speaker was Daniel Tapia who discussed his life obstacles and how he overcame them through the 'power of God'. At age 11, he started selling drugs and was continuously in and out of jail for various illegal activities. It wasn't until he was 15, and in jail again, that he turned to God.

"I didn't believe in God at one time," Tapia said. "I kinda felt like it was something that was made up to try and control people and manipulate them and try to tell them how to live your life. Being incarcerated I found out just how ignorant I was. I found out how real God was."