Darci McMahon, lending manager at Southwest Colorado Federal Credit Union, was trying to explain the intricacies of
loans, credit cards and credit reports to 15 Durango High School students.
Your credit score, although everyone uses it, is not necessarily an indication of financial responsibility in all
cases," McMahon said.
Credit scores are less reliable for borrowers with short credit histories, but they often provide a decent indicator"
of a person's track record paying bills, McMahon explained.
McMahon is one of more than 20 local professionals volunteering to teach financial literacy to DHS students. Most of
the volunteers are local accountants, bankers, loan officers and other financial professionals.
The volunteers were required to attend a training session and be photographed for Durango School District 9-R name
The program's core is five 45-minute lessons about saving and investment, credit, identity theft and other topics. The
instruction comes during the students' advisory periods, so it doesn't interfere with regular classes.
We want them to protect themselves against financial pitfalls," said Nancy Brown, a trainer for Junior Achievement,the Colorado Springs-based nonprofit that provides the curriculum.
During Thursday's lesson at DHS, students initially seemed confused about how to build credit. But they caught on
I guess I'm a little scared that the whole financial and bank and credit system doesn't make sense to me, and it
doesn't exist to help me. It exists to make money off me," said Luke Brossman, a 16-year-old junior.
McMahon said credit cards are great for emergencies and hotel reservations but not for clothes shopping, as in one
scenario students read.
It's not really a great cycle to get into, to go shopping with your credit card all the time," she said.
Many of the volunteers said they wanted to help teenagers understand complicated consumer finance.
I've always been very interested in helping students become financially literate," Paul Gervais, managing partner of
the Durango accounting firm Gervais, McCannon, Tyler & Associates, said at the February training.
Our world is very financially complex, and it's so important for students to get a step up as they enter adulthood,"