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“Thank you Mr. Roger” – Stock picking projects with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Sarasota, Florida and Anne Arundel County, Maryland – May 2019

In late October 2015 working with Unit Director Nate Brown of the Roy McBean Boys and Girls Clubs of Sarasota we put together a stock picking project for teen members which also included staff members. The kids did better than the staff as explained below. Nate has a good sense of humor which was reflected in the video included here. In December 2016, working with with the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Anne Arundel County Maryland, Lisa Mondoro, we initiated an expanded and significantly improved stock picking program for Junior Staff and selected teen members.” reflecting the experience gained in Sarasota. I think anyone interested in working with Boys and Girls Club kids will find below the answers provided to these two questions of interest:



What follows is a description of each program and the lessons learned in Sarasota which substantially improved what was done with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Anne Arundel County.


Stock Picking Project – Boys and Girls Clubs of Sarasota

The Charles Schwab Foundation created a national financial literacy program, Money Matters, “designed specifically to help teens ages 13-18 expand their knowledge of money management and learn the skills that lead to financial independence and well being”. This comprehensive program was started in 2004 and is available today to any of the 4600 Boys and Girls’ Club sites throughout the country. I volunteer at Sarasota’s Roy McBean Club in the winter months working with teens. Though aware of the Money Matters Program we could not make its time requirements work. But one day I “had an idea”- details to follow but highlighting the phrase a conscious choice. However well intentioned volunteers like me with a new idea- even a practical one generally are not tuned in to how their own enthusiasm fits in with say a school principal or a Boys & Girls Club Unit Director’s priorities and available time. You’re enthusiastic they perhaps not so much as your idea from their perspective might fall into the “oh my, just one more thing category”.

My stocking picking idea which I shared over lunch with Unit Director Nate Brown and Teen Club Director Miss Veda (left in photo below) was this. You pick the kids to participate and after a stock market orientation they would pick a stock. I then would purchase $500 of the stock and if in thirteen months the value of their stock was above $500 they would get the difference. And, as part of the orientation I would make clear that this exercise was not the real world as they had no risk since I would absorb any losses. In explaining this stock education proposal to Nate (34 at the time) and Miss Veda, the mother of three children, I soon realized three things: First, they had limited knowledge of the stock market. Second, they felt it would be good for our teen members. Third, they themselves were very interested and wanted to participate.

Here’s what actually happened in Sarasota:

In May 2016 from a separate account I had set up for the purpose I purchased shares valued at @$500 as follows: For Nate, Team, Inc.; for Miss Veda (on left in photo) Children’s Place; for one team that included a beauty conscious teen, Estée Lauder which owned her favorite store, the MAC; and for another team comprised of five teens, Nike. Thirteen months from the date of stock purchase the teen teams’ picks were up and the adults’ down. The project was fun and participants experienced some new territory.


Stock Picking Project – Boys and Girls Clubs of Anne Arundel County, MD

The experience obtained via the Sarasota stock picking project resulted in a better program and participant experience for the Anne Arundel Boys and Girls Clubs which was launched in Oct. 2016.

And here’s why the Annapolis Boys and Girls Club* provided more value to participants and a better model for other clubs to build on.

*officially the Boys and Girls Clubs of Anne Arundel County

  1. Added depth and outside exposure in two important ways: First, in addition to each team picking a single stock to invest in each had to analyze Nike and Under Armour, pick one or the other, and explain why. And, regardless of who they picked, at the end of the program all would have a half day guided tour of Under Armour’s campus in Baltimore. Second, afterwards we all had dinner in a private room at a Latin restaurant in Annapolis that evening to informally discuss the project and the trip to Under Armour earlier in the day.
  2. Participants in the program were part of a Junior Staff program and had worked together previously.
  3. Each of the four teams of five members named their team- hence (1) The Elite’s who picked Under Armour and Exxon Mobil; (2) Google who picked Nike and Coca Cola; (3) JaBroni’s who picked Nike and Apple; and (4) Money Monsters who picked Nike and Electronic Arts. Actual team results were as follows – Stocks were purchased 12/21/16 and valued on 1/21/18. For the period Exxon Mobile was down (.04%); Coca Cola was up 13.1%; Apple was up 52.5%; and Electronic Arts was up 45.5%.
  4. Four staff members were involved including their great Executive Director, Lisa Mondoro. Though not eligible for cash gained they each picked a stock that was included in the public tracking and each went on the Under Armour tour and a post tour dinner.
  5. A preprogram questionnaire was answered by each participant. Subject areas included stock market knowledge at the time; current level of interest in the stock market; what when they reached 30 they thought they’d like to be doing; and what one question they would like to ask any successful business person. (The answers given can be found as a discrete document at the end of this note.) Three of the teams were right in picking Nike which was up 29.4% while at the same time UA down (52.6%).
  6. One of the participating staff, Alex Martin, was a young investor and provided sources to obtain market information and consider as low cost investing vehicles. Here are the investment companies and Apps he provided and his categories: (I had heard of none previously.)
    Spare Change Investors, Acorns
    Trade at Your Risk, Robinhood
    Robo-Advisors, Wealthfront

Additionally, Alex provided commentary on each. His personal experience at a young age coupled with knowing the participants was a plus for the project, illustrating the advantage of having young staff involved. Incidentally, Alex led the staff picking Nvidia which was up 109.6%. The other staff picks were Amazon up 72%; CVS up 0.009%, and Mattel down (43%). While I had interest, enthusiasm, and some diverse investing experience, where possible it would be good to get a licensed relationally skilled professional involved in a project like this. And obviously every local site has its own unique strengths and weakness. This write up describes just one approach and if a few ideas are picked up to apply elsewhere I’d be delighted. Here is a photo of the Boys and Girls Annapolis stock pickers starting their Under Armour tour.

Development Director Jennifer Lagrotteria, far right, wrote: “I thoroughly enjoyed the tour of the Under Armour campus with Jeff and Rodney***and loved seeing our members and staff so engaged! Perhaps a few of our Junior Staff and Club members will someday work on the UA team. Thanks for the dinner at Paladar. What a treat. Though the goal was to review the stock prices and variances from the Stock Market program, I think just having the time together in a non-Club setting was a benefit to all.”

***Jeff was Jeff Breslin. He was Under Armour’s Senior Manager Global Philantrophy before becoming CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore.

  1. How much do you already know about the stock market
  2. Do you know anyone who owns stock
  3. What do folk mean when they say: “This is a bull market. “This is a bear market”
  4. What is a stock index
  5. What is a stock dividend
  6. If you bought $100 worth of Starbucks stock what do you think it would be worth today
  7. If you had $500 to purchase a stock but could only buy Nike or Under Armour what would you pick
  8. How would you go about deciding between Nike and Under Armour



How you did it – 8
Did you enjoy it – 1
What was the first step you took in business – 1
How much were you paid – 1
What did you have to sacrifice – 1


School Subject Disliked Most School Subject Liked Most
Math = 12 Science = 4
Science = 2 Dance/Gym = 4
History = 2 History = 3
English = 1 English = 3
Math = 2

Big Picture Related Comment: Jill Schlesinger, CFP and CBS Business Analyst cites a 2019 George Washington University School of Business Survey only half of U.S. adults could correctly answer half of the 28 survey questions.**. She also references a 2015 article from the Journal of Human Resources which found “there is little evidence that education intended to improve financial-decision-making is successful.” Ms Schlesinger goes on to say: “But that’s not the end of the story. In fact, the study finds that while traditional personal finance courses may not be the best solution, additional mathematics training leads to greater market participation, investment income, and better credit management including fewer foreclosures. **Source, Digital Edition Baltimore Sun, 4/21/19 Subjectively, while not surprised at the lack of enthusiasm for math by participants I was taken aback at the extent of dislike of math. Lots of work has been done in this arena by many and as I look back 60 years I recall dreading math. It was only when I used it practically in business that I got past my math fears and anxiety. Why not increase utilization in schools and Boys and Girls Clubs of projects like this that can make basic math more relevant, useful, and fun for our kids.

Current Level of Interest in the Stock Market
16 and Under 17 and Older
Zero 8 3
A Little 4
Average 1
Working and have a nice house 13
Nursing 17
Doctor 13
Physical Therapist Assistant 18
Good paying job with a family 14
Fashion Designer or a Doctor 12
Social Worker 17
Working for ESPN 17
Working for a graphic design or computer firm 17