Husband and wife team, Don and Marie Hall, founded Living Smart Foundation (formerly BeMoneySmartUSA) to offer financial literacy training and employment opportunities for youth.

Husband and wife team, Don and Marie Hall, founded Living Smart Foundation (formerly BeMoneySmartUSA) to offer financial literacy training and employment opportunities for youth.

(This is a reprint from my Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column on

This morning Banana Moments Foundation, a Roseville non-profit education center to strengthen parent and child trust bonds in a cyber-powered world, hosted a symposium on teaching youth to know their own worth. The symposium took place at the headquarters of Living Smart Foundation, a non-profit youth financial literacy and employment center in Carmichael. Marie Hall, founder of LSF, was one of the featured speakers who explained self worth as the engine of prosperity. “When I teach youth about financial literacy, I don’t start off by talking about money,” she said. “I teach to the psychological aspect of money – the beliefs, desires and values that impact decisions about earning, spending and saving.”

According to Hall, she and her husband Don started their financial literacy and employment training center for youth (formerly BeMoneySmartUSA) in response to the housing financial crisis in 2008. “The aftermath of the financial housing crisis made it painfully obvious that we are not preparing youth to prosper,” she said. “Instead of focusing on financial success as the primary objective, our curriculum is designed to educate the ‘whole person’ so they can create their own version of wealth and success.”

Below are some of Hall’s considerations for clarifying the difference between self worth and money.

  • Wealth is being in a state of flourishing and thriving (body, mind and soul); finance is a part of it but not the only factor. The mindset for flourishing and thriving is one of giving and then receiving with gratitude, and yet youth today are groomed for consuming – always taking, but not necessarily giving or contributing.
  • Consider that prosperity originates from a state of mind, thoughts of abundance, gratitude, wellness and happiness. “Happiness is the result of a series of choices about how to respond to adversity as well as good fortune,” Hall said, “The problem for youth today is that they are focused on immediate gratification, and superficial signs of success. So it is easy for teens and young adults to lose hope when their expectations are not met.”
  • Social media presents problems for self worth and self esteem, because the focus is all about “how the world is making you feel.” According to Hall, many teens are locked into depression as the new norm. “There is a lot of misinformation out there about depression,” she said. “It is normal to feel melancholy during adolescence, and yet there is a lot of romanticizing about depression.” Unchecked, beliefs about a limited future can hinder motivation to create a future for yourself – to seek your passion and purpose, which then impacts income opportunities.

According to Hall, the antidote to the circumstances that are conditioning youth for an entitled existence, is faith and hope. “Without faith and hope, it is not possible to rise above the current circumstances and take steps in the direction that will prosper you,” she said. “Beliefs and values really matter. It is important to nurture thoughts about intention, practice, faith and hope.”

To learn more about free LSF teen financial literacy training and employment, go to: I Love My Farmers’ Markets.

(Disclosure: This examiner is the founder of Banana Moments Foundation.)


ABOUT:  Banana Moments Foundation is a non-profit education center founded in Roseville, CA to strengthen the parent-child bond in a hyper-connected world. The BMF mission is to restore families with the mustard seed of faith that declares liberty already belongs to the soul because one God, the Creator of all humanity, grants every human being intelligence and free will to choose what to believe, and that is power that can never be taken, but is easily surrendered to the bully, the drug or the device. To that end, ten percent of all BMF proceeds are donated to prison ministries. Your Donations are greatly appreciated.

Joanna Jullien (Photo: Christi Benz)

Joanna Jullien
(Photo: Christi Benz)

As the Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner, my personal mission is to educate and inspire parents from all walks of life and social settings to realize their inherent authority to govern the home and educate the child about their own power; the personal power that comes from the spiritual resilience of your chosen faithAnd so I write for to express the passion of my mother heart to a diverse audience.

Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and speaker on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber powered world. She is a mother of two grown sons, the author of The Authority In Me: The Power of Family Life in the Network Culture, produces The Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column on, and is the CyberParenting advisor on The Fish 103.9FM. Her new book, A Google World in the Garden of Eden: Five Family-Safe Strategies for Texting and Social Media is now available for PC and all eReader formats including Kindle, Nook, iPad.