Philly’s ‘Buy the Hood’ summer camp teaches kids about finance, budgeting and real estate investing


It is not uncommon for a child to rush to a teacher in public, excited. It is a bit more unusual for the child to show a stock portfolio afterwards.

But it happened to Corey Camp and Jimmy Williams, 45-year-old friends from when they were at Central High School in Philadelphia. They run a free financial literacy summer camp for kids as young as 5 years old.

Their business, Buy the Hood LLC, started around 2015 with the goal of teaching adults about finance, investing, and the power of ownership. Many adults did not know the basics of concepts such as credit and property, topics rarely taught in school. Camp, a specialist teacher at the Pickett campus of the Mastery Charter School in Germantown, and Williams, a real estate agent and investor from Philadelphia, realized that children would benefit most from learning and applying these lessons early.

“Imagine if the concepts were introduced to us at age 5 and you could grow with them,” Williams said.

So Williams and Camp started the Buy the Hood Ownership Camp Seven years ago. Through relevant games and examples, kids learn about budgeting, investing, taxes, and cryptocurrency, as well as how banks work. They learn how to grow their money over time and learn about the rule of 72, calculating how many years their money would take to double at a certain interest rate.

“What we wanted to do was create an army of financially stable, financially educated young people,” Camp said.

The camp was once held at a daycare center in Germantown, but has gone virtual during the pandemic, allowing children from across the country to attend. About 60 children, including regular campers, are participating in this year’s camp, which began June 25 and runs for six consecutive Saturday mornings. Williams and Camp also plan to help launch financial literacy camps in other cities.

advice from Mr. Corey and Mr. Jimmy of Buy the Hood:

  • You should be an investor“You can’t just put your money in a bank and expect it to work for you,” Mr Jimmy said.
  • Think like a bank. Earn money with the money you borrow.
  • Develop good financial habits now. “All you do is a deposit for tomorrowsaid Mr. Corey.

They have recruited campers through their networks and the vast majority of children who attend are black. Across the country, the typical white family has eight times the wealth of the typical black family. Most families accumulate wealth by owning property. But the homeownership rate among black households (43%) has fallen over the past decade and is far behind the homeownership rate for white households (72%).

“Right now everyone is talking about wealth creation and generational wealth,” said Nicole Purvy, entrepreneur and founder of the nonprofit Philly Real Estate Week, Inc., which teaches adults about investing. real estate and home ownership. “But what good is it if we don’t teach the next generation how to receive it?”

READ MORE: Homeownership isn’t easier for black people in Philadelphia than it was 30 years ago

This year, she partnered with Williams and Camp to create the new website and host a fall gala to raise awareness and funds for camp. Through the partnership, campers will receive a modest allocation to invest.

Rochelle Wilson-Ellis’ 16-year-old son, Kamren Ellis, and 10-year-old daughter, Keziah Ellis, have been attending camp in Detroit since it went virtual. Wilson-Ellis is an account analyst for a hospital group that owns multiple businesses and is enrolled in Buy the Hood University for adults.

“The camp is so amazing because they teach them at their level,” she said. “When they came out of class, they were like, ‘Mom, I learned that. “”

Pop quiz: what is the rule of 72?

The Rule of 72 tells you how many years it takes for your money to double. Divide 72 by the interest rate.

Although Camp and Williams try to make financial concepts digestible for kids, they tell campers they shouldn’t worry about understanding everything they hear. Some concepts will make sense when they are older.

Camp founders talk about the brands kids love. Disney World is real estate, students learn. Someone owns their favorite sneaker brands, video games, movies, and restaurants. Many kids don’t realize they can own things, Williams said.

“They know they’ve always had an owner. Well, you can be the owner too,” Williams said. “They can put themselves in a position to be the first owners of their family.”

READ MORE: Gaps in black-and-white homeownership transcend a booming market and threaten to leave some behind

Friends teach financial concepts through understandable examples. Imagine, Camp told the students, he borrowed $10 from Williams to buy and eat a cheesesteak. “I’m out of money and I don’t have a cheesesteak,” he said – and he still has to pay Williams back.

But, he said, imagine using the same borrowed money to buy cases of water and selling each bottle for $1. “I used leverage, invested and made more money,” Camp said.

Quick quiz: what is arbitration?

Arbitration is the practice of taking advantage of price differences in two or more markets to make a profit. “Arbitrage is just a fancy French word that means buying low and selling high,” Camp told students in a recent lesson.

During the first two weeks of camp, the students asked a lot of pointed questions. From a 6 year old: Does money expire? Is unearthed pirate treasure worth more many years after it was buried?

From a 13-year-old kid: What would happen if I bought the whole purse?

From a 7-year-old child: How to start a business?

From a 13 year old: how to manage my money to be ready for my first job?

From a 16 year old: What are ways to make money outside of work?

North Philadelphia’s Kalaiyah Vicks is a 10-year-old actor who has starred in shorts, commercials and print commercials and played background characters on the HBO show. Easttown Mare and the AMC show Shipments from elsewhere. At camp, she learned to pay herself first by investing and saving some of the money she earns.

Kalaiyah also participated in the camp when it was held in person a few years ago, and her stock portfolio includes stocks in companies she has chosen. It is up 12%.

Her “big goal”, she said, is to be a singer and fashion designer. “I want to own a brand, something like Louis Vuitton, something that will sell for a lot of money, like a designer,” she said.

Pop quiz: what is leverage?

Leverage is the practice of taking out a loan and drawing money from it.

Her father, Kahaun Vicks, went to high school with the camp co-founders and is a member of a black investment group with them. Vicks, who works for the US Department of Defense, and his wife, Kaleandra, a realtor and owner of 3K Cleaning Service, were eager to enroll Kalaiyah in the camp.

“I’m just trying to teach him early about stock investing and the power of ownership, understanding money at a young age,” his father said. “I really wanted her to have [that education], because I didn’t really understand. … I learned a lot of these concepts when I became an adult.

Parents can also learn a lot from camp, he said.

Ten-year-old Keziah Ellis sews beanies and made at least $1,000 in a year selling them online. Since the camp, she has learned to track how much she spends on fabric and her profits.

“I love money. Money is my favorite thing,” she said. She has always struggled with math and thinking in terms of money helps her focus.

She recommends that children learn to capitalize on their interests. For example, let’s say someone likes hamsters, she says. They can try to invest in hamsters.

His brother Kamren has a tutoring business where he teaches classical subjects and the basics of what he learned at Buy the Hood camp. “So we can all get that money together,” he said.

Pop quiz: What are the money earning categories in Robert Kiyosaki’s “Cash Flow Quadrant” model?

Employees and people who are self-employed exchange time for money. business owners don’t need to be present to earn money. Investors use money to make money.

Milan Smalls, 16, and Nile Smalls, 9, of Mount Airy, have been attending the camp for a few years.

Nile learned about stocks – “when to buy and when not” – entrepreneurship and bitcoin. He plans to one day write and market a book.

When her big sister was in eighth grade, she self-published a book on Amazon called It’s good to hear. “I have a hearing disability, so I’ve been writing about it and trying to cheer up the kids,” said Milan, who plans to become an oral surgeon.

The camp taught her how to manage her money and how to use a credit card now to build up credit, she said. It’s “just a great experience” and more interactive than school, she says.

Their father’s experience as an investor and real estate agent helped guide Milan’s interests at this year’s camp. “I want to know more about what my dad has told me over the years,” she said.

Financial literacy “is definitely needed in the black community,” said Mark Smalls. “And that’s part of financial literacy and independence.”

“I wish there was something like this when I was growing up,” he said. “When I was 20, 21, I didn’t know anything about stocks.”

He said he tries to publicize the camp as much as possible, “so downtown knows that it’s free and it’s something that you can learn and we can integrate now, early.”

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