BASIN – Rock and roll and finances don't seem to have anything in common, but Gooding has found a way to combine the two in a fun and educational way.
The financial literacy program at Riverside High School in Basin Thursday morning, started with a short video that explained the history of the band and what they do and why. "We want to reach them (students) before they get into financial problems," Gooding band leader Gooding said. "They need to know the basics and know what a credit score is, to get one credit card to create credit, not 10," Gooding added.
"We're rock and rollers first, but we're rock and rollers with a message," Gooding said. "After travelling around the United States for a decade ... we played in every state. We started seeing same-day lenders crop up, seeing people struggling. A lot of the issues - people losing hope and people feeling like they weren't going to get ahead ... came back to financial literacy. I left high school knowing more about geometry than I did balancing a checkbook."
Most schools don't teach students about credit, loans or managing money, one band member said.
The band played energetic rock and roll for about 20 minutes engaging the students who cheered and applauded after each song. "We play for about 20 minutes as loud and as energetic as we can," Gooding said. "As loud as the principal will allow," he added.
After the concert, Gooding got down to business, financial literacy. His energy, first-hand knowledge and enthusiasm captured the students' full attention as he explained the pitfalls of same day lenders and credit cards.
On the band's website the band describes what they do, "Through a concert, multimedia presentation and talkback, we discuss predatory lending, the danger of credit card debt, saving early and looking to students' own communities for support and mentorship, while exposing the myth of rock stars, athletes and actors who sell the false image of overnight success."
Gooding's visit was sponsored by Big Horn Federal through Funding the Future, a non – profit organization whose mission, according to their website is, "to educate students across the country on the importance of smart financial decisions, through a multimedia presentation including music, video and an inspirational message shared by a musical celebrity. Funding the Future emphasizes the importance of financial literacy at a young age. Participants learn tools to make informed decisions throughout their lives, gaining the discipline and confidence to see their own dreams as possibilities. Financial success for students who avoid debt and make sound financial decisions has a significant impact on their future success in their lives, families, communities, and even the environment.
"There are no short cuts or quick fixes. The hype of overnight success in sports, music and acting can lead us to believe that our day to day discipline and the mentors in our own communities don't have value, when these are the most important resources we have," Gooding states.
Funding the Future and Gooding hope to visit more high schools in the area next year. "We are working on visiting Worland, Gillette, Sheridan and Cody also next year," Funding the Future Executive Director Rita A. Pouppirt said.