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Toronto, Canada

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Toronto, Ontario - M5V 1R2
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MY MONEY MY FUTURE: Danika & Valentina Just Won $10,000

Written by Samantha Moss

Wondering who won the My Money My Future challenge? We’ve got all the deets! 

With the help of our friends Carlos Bustamante and Andy Chapman, we hosted a national showcase and awards ceremony for the challenge on June 3rd, where Danika Hindson and Valentina Mounzer from Ottawa, Ontario were crowned the official winners. 

In case you missed out on the fun, you can watch how it all went down here:

If this is your first time hearing about the event, here’s a bit of a recap. Our friends over at CIBC and The Canadian Foundation for Economic Education (CFEE) challenged Canadian high school students to create a new financial resource to help other students build a healthy relationship with money. Each student or student group had a chance to win $10,000† towards future education or training! 

So, we spoke to Danika and Valentina about what it was like to win the first-ever My Money My Future challenge.

Can you share a little bit about yourselves?

We are both heading into Grade 12 at an arts school based in Ottawa, Ontario. 

Valentina: “As a human rights advocate, I am passionate about exploring creative solutions to social justice and human rights issues. I will be pursuing fashion and film, trying to tackle issues of diversity and significance of the film industry and the environmental & social issues of the fashion industry.

Danika: “I’ve always had a passion for traveling and exploring new countries and cultures. In fact, the exposure to inequality between countries has inspired me to help support people in developing nations. Whether it will come from a background in health science or business, I want to pursue a career that will speak to my values of fairness and accessibility.”

How did you hear about the CFEE My Money My Future Challenge supported by CIBC? 

We had first heard about the CFEE My Money My Future Challenge (supported by CIBC) in our business class. It was right before we had gone into the April lockdown, our teacher, Mr.Allen, was sharing various competitions we could participate in. One of which was the My Money My Future Challenge. Since we go to an art school and like having creative freedom, this contest really stood out as a perfect opportunity for us to mix our creative and business skills together. Going into the contest we were super motivated and excited to be participating but we never even imagined what would eventually come out of it.

What inspired or motivated you to enter the challenge?

Since we had been in lockdown and basically experienced groundhog day for 6 months straight, we needed an outlet to feel productive. Of course, we had school and work to keep us occupied, but after a while, we needed to shake things up. We thought it would be a great idea to participate in this challenge, where we could use our energy to work towards something fun and important. 

We’ve both seen the limitations of financial illiteracy through friends and family experiences, so we wanted to help the next generation build a basic foundation of financial knowledge. That way, they can set themselves up for success in life and in business as they get older.

Can you share a bit about what your project is and why you feel it is an important resource for financial literacy amongst youth?

Our project is called Breadwinner, a bakery-themed financial board game targeted to kids aged 8-13 to teach the basics of finance and financial literacy. Basically, the goal of the game is that you have inherited your family bakery which you discover is run down and in debt, and it is your duty to fix it.

To do so you go around the board, answering trivia questions and collecting money which helps increase your income as you improve your bakery with assets that help you generate more income and enable you to eliminate debt. Overall, this game has strong financial lessons throughout including the importance of overcoming debt, making smart financial decisions, choosing the right asset, and the importance of saving money for the unknown.

This is such an important resource to teach youth about finance as it addresses a variety of learning styles which we know is very effective to address a wide audience. We have noticed a lot of people our age have different learning styles and are edging away from the standard classroom learning, which is a need that our game addresses. In addition, our resource helps spice up the topic of finance and makes the subject fun and competitive for kids to play with their friends and family.

Why did you feel that creating a board game would set you apart from competing student groups?

We asked ourselves what the other students had most likely asked themselves when creating their submissions, “How can we appeal to youth?” It seemed like a question that we should have been able to answer in a split second considering that we are in fact youth. However, there were multiple things that we had to keep in mind when it came to creating an incentive to play. As Covid has been a prevalent issue in our world today, life has pretty much adapted online, which although is very impressive also causes harmful effects on our mental health. 

As well as knowing the harmful effects, we took a survey with peers to determine their preference of learning and the majority said offline and in person. This really pushed us to do a resourcefully offline but still memorable. For generations, board games have been staples in households, so Breadwinner is a perfect resource families can use for educational purposes and entertainment. Kids also have always loved games so why not teach them something useful while they are playing. 

Lastly, we both grew up with parents that helped teach us about managing finances. While it was helpful and we are both grateful, it was pretty dull at times and we could have benefitted from a more dynamic way of learning.

What solution do you feel your project solves for in the world of financial literacy?

Our board game helps kids and parents explore the importance of financial literacy. It will help children understand the importance of basic finance at an early age, so they are able to develop lifelong skills you need to learn in order to be financially free and happy. They will be better prepared for their future with finances and will have a positive introduction to finance rather than getting thrown into it in college.

What was your biggest obstacle throughout the challenge and how did you overcome it? 

One of our biggest obstacles was definitely time management. We only found out about the contest three weeks before the due date so it was very intense trying to execute all of our ideas in that time frame. Especially with our school work, jobs, and extracurriculars, managing everything was incredibly difficult but we just had to push through. Whether we’d have to either get up really early or stay up really late, we would always push harder to finish what we had to do that day for the board game. 

Another challenge we had to face was narrowing down our ideas. We had great plans of where we saw our idea going but with the massive time crunch, we had to maximize our efficiency by only trying out the ideas we thought would work best for the board game which would bring the appeal of finance to youth.

Have you had any conversations around producing your board game? If so, what have those conversations looked like?

We’ve been having some conversations around producing our board game and we still have some aspects to work out and discuss, but when there are final plans to produce it (which is the hope), we will be letting everyone know via our Instagram, @Breadwinner_edu. We hope to see Breadwinner in classrooms across the nation to aid in teaching children the fundamental aspects of finance at a young age.

How will you use the cash prize provided by CFEE and CIBC? 

The prize offered by CFEE and CIBC will be put towards our futures. We will be aiming to put part in a diversified portfolio of investments in order to have assets continuously contributing to our income. The money generated from these investments will be used to help pay for post-secondary education. 

The other part will be used to donate to charities and organizations that we believe are meaningful and important, such as the ‘Native Women’s Association of Canada’ aimed to improve the wellbeing of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit women, and the iF Charity which focuses on the humanitarian crisis of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

We wish Danika and Valentina the best of luck in their studies and with their board game, Breadwinner!

To check out the winning submissions for the My Money My Future Challenge, and all of the finalists from across Canada, you can visit the website here.

*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.