MAY 26, 2021 — The next time you are looking for an entertaining and educational book to read to a child in your life, consider picking up one penned by UTSA student Jaci Finch. Her latest is the second in a series promoting the importance of financial literacy to children—particularly, the finiteness of money and the importance of saving.
Finch, a marketing major and junior in the Honors College, began writing children’s books on the anniversary of her grandfather’s passing. Her first book, Big Bill was a tribute to her grandpa. Her follow-up to Big Bill was a book for her mother called Joli Goes to Gymnastics.
Neither of these books were ever published, but creating them sparked a passion within Finch that put her on the path that she is on now.
A Day without Screens was her first published book. According to Finch, her boyfriend’s little sister inspired the story about a young girl who is banned from using her tablet and is forced to spend her day “entertaining herself using her imagination.” During her break from technology, the little girl discovers the “beautiful world outside.”
Finch’s first financial literacy book came next. This book, entitled A Helping Hand: Sophie’s Financial Adventure tells the tale of a young girl named Sophie who stumbles across a farm of sad animals who need money for food. Sophie makes a deal to earn money to help the animals, which leads to a fun adventure. Finch said this book teaches young readers about the “value of money.”
She writes and illustrates each book herself and self-publishes through Amazon, where the books are available in print or digital formats. Although Finch does not plan to pursue a career as a children’s writer in the future, she loves the way creating these books has allowed her to combine her passions for writing and drawing. As president and founder of the Global Business Brigades at UTSA, Finch was already teaching financial literacy to local refugees before she even started writing her book series. The books simply became a natural extension that combined her interests.
Creating these books also gives her a chance to put her marketing skills to use. She has created an Instagram account for Watering Sprouts Education where she publicizes her books and is currently working on expanding her social media presence.
Once the books are completed, Finch organizes readings and donates copies of the books to elementary schools in her hometown. “I love that there are actual kids learning from and reading them,” she said.
The cost of creating the books can be quite significant, particularly on a student budget, which is why Finch has taken advantage of Honors College development funding opportunities in order to cover a portion of the costs for her latest book. According to Honors College fiscal specialist Stacie Garza, the Honors College awards $20,000 annually to Honors students like Finch who are able to use the funding for out-of-school activities that support their growth and educational goals.
This kind of support is one of several factors that drew Finch to the Honors College in the first place. “I love how the Honors College is always encouraging us to go outside of our majors and do what we love in order to build who we are,” she said. “Also, I love how they’re always pushing us to pursue our passions while helping others.”
Finch is also taking advantage of a number of Honors College special programs. This summer, she will intern with Hemisfair as part of the Citymester program. In the fall, she will head to Washington, D.C., to participate in the Archer Fellowship program. After graduation, she plans to pursue a graduate degree in public policy before embarking on a career in the field of education.
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