Taking charge: Girl Scout’s Gold project a success

HARLINGEN — It’s a hit.

That’s the word on Victoria Garza’s Texas Teen Finance Expo, which was held earlier this month to educate upcoming seniors about handling money after they start making it.

“The event was going toward my Gold Award,” said Victoria, 18, who just graduated from Harlingen School of Health Professions.

The Gold Award is the highest achievement in Girl Scouting. Victoria held the event June 9 at HSHP after months of planning.

“What I wanted to do was give out information that kids really don’t know on financial literacy,” said Victoria, a member of Troop 289.

“I had some things there giving out information on what kind of accounts kids can open,” she said. “We had a business owner talking about what you do when you go to an interview, what they’re looking for in us kids. Plains Capital gave a presentation on loans.”

Her mother, Debbie Garza, was impressed.

“She pretty much did everything on her own, which is exactly what Girl Scouts is all about, teaching them leadership and being independent,” said Garza, who is also Victoria’s troop leader.

Victoria agreed she learned a lot about taking charge while organizing the event.

“I think I gained a lot of leadership skills knowing what to do if something goes wrong,” she said, “or if something doesn’t go your way you have to work with it. I learned how to work with people.”

So how did she come up with the idea for a financial literacy expo?

“Since I’m going to be a freshman at Texas A&M Corpus Christ, I thought why not do financial literacy?” she recalled. “It’s a big thing here in the Valley that a lot of kids don’t know about. I think it went really well. There were more than I expected, around 30 kids.”

She said they all had smiles as the left, appearing as though they actually had something that they “took home that they could learn from.”

HSHP Principal Tina Garza commended Victoria for her efforts.

“The TTFE event was a well-planned and informative financial literacy event that was designed to engage and positive impact the young students who attended from the Valley,” she said. “Harlingen School of Health Professions is very proud of the focus and insight Victoria channeled to accomplish this important goal.”

Victoria is still filling out an extensive amount of paperwork explaining why her project is deserving of the Gold Award. But, she seems to have lots of good answers.

“I’m filling out paperwork that says how the event went, how do I feel that I gained from doing this event, or doing the Gold Award,” she said.

This will make her HSHP’s first Gold Award, Tina Garza said.

“Her accolades and inner drive will place her on a trajectory for great things as she embarks on her post-secondary endeavors and we want to reiterate our pride and support,” she said.

Victoria plans to become first an elementary teacher and then a school principal.