Moten's mission is to educate Kinston's youth about financial responsibility
Jarell Moten is a 2008 graduate of Kinston High School who has earned his MBA from ECU. He has started a nonprofit – named after his late uncle, Charles Shackleford – with the goal of educating youth about financial responsibility. Photo by Bryan Hanks / Neuse News
A Kinston native currently living and working in Raleigh wants to make an impact on the financial health of area youth – and he thinks it might just change the futures of many of those youngsters in Lenoir County.
Jarell Moten, an MBA who works for one of the largest financial services firms in the Triangle, has founded The Financial Shack, Inc. The nonprofit organization’s mission is to generate awareness of finance, accounting, business ownership and technology for youth, minority and low income populations.
The 501-c was incorporated last year and is named after Moten’s uncle, the late Charles Shackleford, a former Kinston High School, N.C. State and NBA basketball star. Shackleford died from a heart attack at the age of 50 in January 2017.
“When my uncle passed, it triggered something in me,” said Moten, who obtained undergraduate degrees from N.C. State University, his MBA from ECU and is working on a masters degree from UNC in accounting. “I knew I had to take advantage of the knowledge and information I have and I needed to use it to give back.”
Moten said he is concerned with what he sees as a “schools-to-prison pipeline” in today’s education system and he thinks The Financial Shack can help thwart that.
“I think there is a real opportunity for us to evaluate what we are putting into kids’ minds,” Moten said. “Imagine a kid continuously hearing throughout his school tenure, ‘You’re failing. You’re not going to be anything.’ If a kid isn’t doing well in school, perhaps there is something else he can take advantage of.”
That’s where The Financial Shack comes in. Moten said it is vital for teenagers today – particularly in poorer areas such as Kinston and Lenoir County – to learn financial responsibility.
“We can talk to them about business ownership or picking up a trade first,” he said.
Moten’s organization is holding a two-hour webinar at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 22 at 1 p.m. It’s free to the public.
“The purpose of the webinar is to generate awareness around compound interest and how it works, the importance of investing and inflation,” Moten said. “We want to teach kids about credit and how it impacts home ownership; they need to be proactive instead of reactive to avoid financial traps.”
More information about the Dec. 22 webinar can be found at thefinancialshack.com. Moten is also seeking individuals and businesses in Lenoir County that would like to contribute to his mission; he can be reached at 252-521-1967 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The long-term plan for The Financial Shack is to establish a permanent presence in Lenoir County.
“I’ve been referred to some contacts in the school system here, so I’m going to be working with them to host some classes,” Moten said.
Moten’s motivation is simple.
“I’ve acquired a lot of knowledge; I’m even working on my second master’s,” he said. “I feel like everyone that gets to a particular point should have some sort of motivation to reach back and bring people up to their level.
“That is what drives me.”