Saturday, May 9, 2009
Free Prom Means More Money, Well Yes, But...
Financial advisor Peter Bielagus offers a unique financial education seminar for high school students that doubles as a fundraiser for the prom
Financial advisor and professional speaker Peter Bielagus has given financial seminars at high schools, colleges and military bases all over the world. As he's talked to young people at his events, Bielagus discovered that teens often lack the financial knowledge needed to manage their money.
"I'll meet college students who are nineteen years old and they are already in collections," says Bielagus. "I realized I needed to start doing presentations at high schools. I wanted to catch students before they damage their financial lives."
To better reach these young people, Bielagus has developed a unique program that turns a financial education seminar into a lucrative fundraiser for prom committees everywhere.
"I Will Pay for Your Prom.com" is a 90-minute financial presentation for students, their parents and members of the school community. The seminar is typically held on a weeknight at a partnering high school. Students are responsible for selling tickets to their fellow classmates. Parents and teachers attend for free. When the event is over, Bielagus donates a large portion of the revenue to the prom committee.
The prom is one of the most important moments in a teenager's high school career, but schools often struggle to raise the thousands of dollars needed for the event. Because Bielagus donates a portion of the ticket sales, he leaves the fundraising possibilities in the hands of the students. The more young people they bring to the seminar, the more money they raise.
"Under our current payment structure, the minimum amount of money a school can make is $4500, which is usually enough to pay for a modest prom of about 100 people," Bielagus said. "If students are aggressive in promoting the financial program and if they partner with other schools, prom can literally become free for everyone."
Whether a student is heading off to college or entering the workforce for the first time, financial literacy is an important tool young people need during these uncertain economic times. But getting students to pay attention to economic issues can be a challenge. Bielagus understands this and presents money matters in an entertaining way. Bielagus also strives to keep his seminar fresh by constantly altering it based on the feedback he receives from 40,000 young audience members every year.
"Any college in the country could ask a local bank vice president to speak to their students for free," says Bielagus. "But over 60 colleges a year pay me to motivate their students to manage their money simply because I can present it in a way that connects with young people."
If you are interested in seeing if your school qualifies for the program just visit www.iwillpayforyourprom.com. To learn more about Peter Bielagus, please visit www.peterbspeaks.com.