By Linda Steinmuller - Canarsie Courier Fifty elementary school students (grades Kindergarten through second grade) are proud stockholders of various blue chip and Fortune 500 companies thanks to the Xposure After School Program. One of Xposure’s goals is to promote children’s financial literacy through innovative and unique methods of learning. The students attend the New Hope Academy Science and Technology Charter School on East 57th Street in East Flatbush (at the Nazareth High School campus). A celebration took place at the school on May 18 to celebrate the big event. Through the use of an innovative curriculum that includes music, smart-board lessons, and a host of creative activities, students were introduced to the stock market through a cleverly narrated series of smart-board lessons entitled, "Name that Company." Students learned about the products and services of companies like Apple, General Electric, McDonald’s, Disney, and Nike. Students decided which stocks they wanted to buy (in consult with their parents), and Xposure helped the children open custodial investment accounts so they could purchase the shares. During the celebration, students displayed their knowledge of the stock market as Xposure Executive Director/Founder, Raymond L. Thomas Jr. asked questions such as, "What is a stock?"..."it’s a piece of a company." "What is the stock market?"…"it's where you buy stock (or shares of a company)," "it’s on Wall Street." Thomas asked some of the students, "What stock did you purchase and why?" Tamiya Softley said that she "bought Whole Foods stock because I knew when I went to the store, I bought part of it." Another student bought McDonald’s because "I like the French fries" or Apple because "they sell music, and, when you hear it, you can dance." All of the new stockholders came to the front of the classroom to receive a medal and to declare "I'm the proud owner of [whatever stock they purchased]." Some of the parents who attended were interviewed about the program. Many of them expressed that they had never invested in stocks before. Others remarked that they did not know much about stocks but had learned from their children and were now considering investing in stocksthemselves. Students learned two songs that helped teach them about stocks: "Shareholder/Boss Rap" and "Name that Company." They performed both songs for their parents by singing and dancing enthusiastically. Thomas stressed the importance of learning financial responsibility at a young age especially in the present economic downturn. He told the students, "we want you to be wildly successful. We learned these lessons later in life, and we want to teach you those lessons make wise investment choices that will earn a profit. We want these children to learn financial lessons early and often so they can be successful adults." Xposure Foundation Inc. is a 501c3 not for profit organization that operates five science, technology, employment, and finance based after-school programs in New York City and Westchester County. The foundation teamed with Carver Bank and has helped over 500 children open custodial savings accounts and 250 children open custodial investment accounts. The children are bused to the bank every two months to deposit money they earn in the program.

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