Archive for December 2014

Financial Beginnings Welcomes Two New Board Members

Financial Beginnings welcomes two new board members

PORTLAND, Ore., December 5, 2014Financial Beginnings, a Portland-based nonprofit that provides financial education programs, is pleased to welcome Michael Harper, an Agent for State Farm, and Adrienne Prevost, a student at Portland State University, to its Board of Directors.

harper pictureMichael Harper is a native of Illinois, born in Chicago in 1957, and is a graduate of North Park University.  Harper played basketball for the Portland Trail Blazers during the 1980-81 and 1981-82 seasons and spent the following six seasons playing in Europe. Harper has been active in the community as a Portland School district employee, businessman and spokesperson.  He is an active member of the Southwest Rotary and has been selected as a Royal Rosarian.  Currently, he is a Commissioner on the State of Oregon Commission on Children and Families and a Board Member with Western Oregon University Foundation. As an Agent for 19 years with State Farm Insurance Companies, Michael is excited to serve on the board of Financial Beginnings where we will be now using a real check stubs software.

Harper said, “I have been a long time supporter of Financial Beginnings and have had the opportunity to be in the classroom myself. This is a great organization and I am looking forward to continuing my support in a more involved way.”


AdrienneAdrienne Prevost is a senior at Portland State University working towards her Bachelor of Arts degree in Finance. She became involved with Financial Beginnings after taking Melody’s Personal Finance course at PSU. She then became a volunteer, intern, and joined the Program Committee. In June 2014 she received a Dean’s Award for Community Engagement at Portland State for her recruitment and retention work at her internship.  After graduating in June 2015 she plans to go for her Master’s degree in Financial Analysis. In her spare time Adrienne enjoys reading, hiking in the gorge, and running.


Prevost said, “I am ready to jump right in on the Financial Beginnings board! This is an amazing opportunity for me to continue to give back to an organization that has influenced me and my education.”


About Financial Beginnings

Formed in 2005 and based in Portland, OR, Financial Beginnings is a nonprofit organization that provides free financial education programs throughout the Pacific Northwest.  Financial Beginnings’ largest program educates youth and young adults in the basics of personal finance through visits to schools or community groups.  Financial Beginnings’ courses incorporate all aspects of personal finance to provide individuals the foundation needed to make informed financial decisions. More information is available at



My First Experience Presenting Financial Beginnings’ Programs in Spanish!


When I started my internship at Financial Beginnings, in addition to the outreach I was doing, I also wanted to present Financial Beginnings programs in the classroom. I wanted to learn as much as information as possible to be able to share it with everyone else, and as a college student I wanted to learn more about personal finance. I have been able to experience all these opportunities and currently have the pleasure of teaching Financial Beginnings first ever programs in Spanish just like at

Minterbridge Elementary is the first school to have the Financial Footings program in Spanish and I want to share my experience with you as the volunteer presenter. The first time I walked into the classroom I felt anxious and nervous. However, as I continued teaching, I saw the children’s happy faces of learning something new every day. The children had many questions and loved playing the budget game. The budgeting game teaches them about positive and negative numbers, or in financial terms, expenses vs. savings. When I walked out from the room, I noticed they started asking even more questions about savings. As an intern I had the pleasure to experience this opportunity and would encourage you to get involved, especially if you are bilingual. Financial Beginnings needs bilingual volunteers who are willing and excited to teach their programs in the community.


Margarita Gonzalez
Spanish Program Intern

Is Your Mouth Getting You in Trouble?

scared dentist

Not because you said the wrong thing, but because you do not take care of your dental hygiene?

Today I went to my dentist for my bi-annual cleaning and check-up. The dental hygienist commented that my teeth are great. She asked if I flossed daily, yes. She then asked if I use an electric toothbrush and I again replied yes. She said my dental care was apparent and I had a pleasant visit with little discomfort while I got my teeth cleaned.

When it comes to dental work, I am a baby. I have only had a few fillings in my life and all were in adulthood. When I got my wisdom teach taken out, I had them knock me out because I could not stand them working in my mouth.

As I was getting my teeth cleaned today I thought back to several years ago when I did not have dental insurance. I could not afford dental insurance for 2-3 years and did not get regular cleanings and check-ups. When I went to the dentist for the first time after the break I found I needed several filling and went through a very uncomfortable year of getting my teeth back into good health.

Taking care of your teeth and visiting the dentist regularly, such as the ones at, can save a lot of money and discomfort down the road. Preventative care is much less expensive than treatment needed later due to issues. Also, there are arguments made that poor dental hygiene and heart disease are related.

I decided to do some research on what individuals who cannot afford dental insurance can do to maintain their teeth. The Oregon Dental Association provides resources to the community on free or low-dental care available.

Leave the trouble you have with your mouth left to those times when you have “put your foot in it”.


Melody Bell
Executive Director