Waves offers girls insight on Financing Your Future

Waves: Financing Your Future

Coralville Public Library — Saturday, Jan. 27 at 10 a.m.

Girls in the Waves program participate in a workshop on women in radio with Charity Nebbe in May of 2017. — photo courtesy of Waves

This weekend, girls age 6-16 have the chance to explore their dreams from a pragmatic perspective in Financing Your Future, a workshop on fundraising, finances and grant writing. The event, which is free, takes place the morning of Saturday, Jan. 27 at 10 a.m. in Meeting Room A of the Coralville Public Library. Financing Your Future kicks off the second year of programming for Waves, a confidence- and skill-building initiative for girls, organized and led by local women.

Waves is the brainchild of playwright Janet Schlapkohl.

“The impetus behind the idea came after the election, when I could not find a framework for hope,” Schlapkohl said in an email. “There was anger and disconnect everywhere, but more importantly there were girls in my community. What future were we women handing them? I wanted something positive that was going to last.”

The group presented workshops for girls throughout 2017, and is poised to kick off another successful year. Saturday’s event will be facilitated by financial planner Carrie Houchins-Witt; Katie Sturgell, associate director of development at the Stephen A. Wynn Institute for Vision Research at the University of Iowa; and another UI resource, Elizabeth A. Constantine, director of the Grant and Research Services Center.

“I know each of the women personally,” said Schlapkohl of the instructors for Financing Your Future. “They have a diverse range of skills and interests including theater. They are perfectly suited to discuss the reality of taking an idea all the way through fundraising to personal finance … These are areas that are not often discussed, but are incredibly important.”

Maria Vorhis runs a storytelling workshop held at the Center for Worker Justice in April of 2017. — photo courtesy of Waves

Houchins-Witt, who is presenting for Waves for the first time, will be focus her portion of the event on budgeting, including spending, saving and giving. She’ll lead the girls in putting together a budget for a business and encourage them to take those lessons home and practice by budgeting a meal for their family.

“I did not have any mentorship when I was younger,” Houchins-Witt said in an email. “I was involved in Girl Scouts for just a couple of years, and really enjoyed it … but I didn’t really have an understanding of different career paths and skill building.”

She emphasized the value of having a way for women in the community “to teach and empower girls, with a low time commitment and high impact.” She’s also pleased to be bringing her field, specifically, to a female audience. Not only do women make up only 31 percent of financial advisors, she noted, but of financial planners who, like her, earn the level of CFP® Professionals, only 23 percent are women. And Houchins-Witt also believes in the importance of having a program that’s just for girls.

“My boys are dying to attend Saturday’s session,” she said. “They think it sounds so cool. I said, ‘Sorry, it’s just for girls!’ They said, ‘That’s not fair!’ My response: ‘Yup.'”

Houchins-Witt’s sentiments seem to be borne out of Schlapkohl’s experience designing the program.

“I called women that I knew and admired, and we held a meeting at my home,” she said of the early planning stages. “We discussed what we needed to do support girls, to let them realize that we cared about them and their futures, that they were surrounded by women in their community who were not going to let them down.”

She also believes that the girls can help each other, and factored that into the structure through the wide age range.

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“I actually think it is really important for young girls to spend time with teenage girls,” Shlapkohl said. “Both groups benefit.”

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