The featured photo is of the prison unit I, Shynna Key- The Financial Fanatic was afforded the opportunity to lecture on Friday June 1, 2018. I added value to the lives of inmate mentors & mentees of Cheshire Correctional Institution T.R.U.E unit about financial literacy. I spoke two days after the Channel 3 News and Governor of Connecticut, Dannel Malloy took a tour of the first successful special unit at a maximum prison in the states of almost two years, January 2019. T.R.U.E. stands for truthfulness, respectfulness, understanding, and elevating. This is where younger inmates are learning from those who know the most about the prison life. The program was established to help younger inmates rebuild their lives. The mentors come from a similar group called Lifers that was established and well organized while in the general population.
June 1st changed my perspective on inmates and how they would intake financial literacy. After that big door closed, the correctional officer and supervisor of the unit said “after you give your speech you will be taken on a tour of the unit by your brother and see where your brother have been housed since the program started. He has been incarcerated for almost nineteen years. I instantly broke down and cried. That was a very emotional, heartfelt moment and a surprise at the same time. Needless to say I have been in the visitation room before but to actually go beyond the walls, I had to come to grips and pull myself together as I took that long walk to the unit.
Until that day my audience were not inmates. It was not until I was informed by the Correctional Officer that I was the first independent Author/Speaker to come speak at the prison about finances or of any topic to be precise. From that day forward I took on inmates to be my next target audience. Why? Because inmates need financial literacy too. They are not going to be incarcerated forever.
As most of the mentees and mentors have purchased my book, Wealth is a Mindset and the book is in the prison library, they were already familiar with my message that “Just Because Your Not Born with a Silver Spoon in Your Mouth, Doesn’t Mean, You Can’t Get One”. My message is important to the inmate mentors since they have created and have been utilizing a currency system for their adult daily living expenses! Even though they were not aware of a few strategies they could utilize while awaiting their EOS (end of sentence). One tip especially gave the inmates and staff a wow moment was, if they have a loved one that have good credit whom would be willing to put them on their credit card as an authorized user, will help establish their credit while incarcerated. That is called piggybacking. I did a fun exercise on silent income killers which each income killer take up 1/3 of their income. I motivated the inmates on how they can use their time wisely and act like entrepreneurs making a blueprint for their return, as I know a few ex-cons that have come home and turned out to be gold minds and successful business owners.
Much gratitude goes to the incredible mentors that thought highly of the mentees and their return to society, they agree to put the proposal in for, Shynna Key-The Financial Fanatic, to give the group a lecture on financial literacy! I am grateful and thank Scott Erfe the Warden of Cheshire Correctional Institution for the opportunity to speak to the new special unit! The staff and the inmates were very welcoming and interactive with tons of questions that I was honored to answer.
By: Shynna Key- The Financial Fanatic
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