Adrian Kimmok, an 11th grader from Torrance, CA, is the winner of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling’s annual poster contest. He spoke at the Jump$tart Coalition’s award dinner and was so poised and delightful, we thought you’d like to see his poster and read his remarks.
Good evening ladies and gentlemen. My name is Adrian Kimmok. I come from a city thousands of miles away from here—from the opposite end of this country. Two months ago, I would never have imagined that I would be leaving my city of Torrance and be taking a trip of a lifetime to the capital of America , Washington D.C. Two months ago, I would never have imagined that when an average boy like me picked up color pencils to draw a poster—to fulfill a hobby—he would be setting himself up for a rewarding experience. But then again, two months ago, I would never have imagined how fortunate I would be to be chosen as the national winner of the 2010 Financial Literacy Poster Contest. And for that, I am grateful to CCCS of Orange County and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling for providing me with this exciting opportunity.
When I began this poster, I had the intention of getting one main message across: a brighter future is not achieved individually, but through a collaborative effort of everyone working together and making smart money choices. I didn't have to look any further than my family to know this idea was true. When my family and I immigrated to America , all we had were the clothes on our backs and a few bags of luggage; in other words, we did not have things made. So, at a young age, my parents stressed the value of stretching a dollar—the significance of conserving money and making smart financial choices. With this mentality, we all worked together and strove for a brighter future. And at the age of ten, I was able to purchase my own laptop after tutoring three dollars an hour for several months. I could have easily spent my money elsewhere, but my parents taught me better—the lessons of patience, determination, and perseverance. Through choices like this, we were able to make meaningful differences in our lives. My poster conveys my family’s belief that the key to a brighter future is a collaborative effort of making smart money choices.
Another aspect that I included in my poster is the idea of time. Brighter futures do not magically come out of nowhere over the course of a single day. It takes months, years, and perhaps even decades. Thus, in addition to working collaboratively, we must learn to discipline ourselves to be patient. Everything will pay off in the end.
I believe smart money choices should begin at a young age, just like how my parents reinforced them when I was eight. Through this manner, we learn to make these choices a habit, rather than a tiresome and forced routine. I am constantly reminded of the importance of collaboratively making smart money choices on a daily basis: I have a home, I have food on my dinner table every night, and most importantly, I have a loving family. I truly feel fortunate.
Reflecting upon myself today, I guess my mother knew what she was saying when she constantly recited to me the cliché proverb, “If you work hard, you can make all your dreams come true.” After all, two months ago, I was sitting in my room with a box of color pencils. Now, I am standing here in a memorable experience—much closer to my dream of a brighter future. Thank you.
Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy