D R E A M B I G
TJ engages and challenges youth to understand what it takes to follow their dreams and accomplish their goals. When TJ was in the hospital for weeks following open-heart surgery, he realized that anything was possible if he continued to dream big.
The focus is not just on athletic pursuits but also life goals that will help young people achieve their dreams.
The Foundation’s objectives are mentorship and financial literacy.
M E N T O R S H I P
TJ earned a Masters in Coaching Education degree at Ohio University and took advantage of every opportunity to serve as a Mentor in his communities. When speaking with youth, he focuses on core values such as respect, teamwork, inclusion, positive conflict resolution, and leadership skills. He has worked closely with students at Parker Elementary School and the Hidden Genius Project in Oakland, Garrett Morgan High School in Cleveland, OH, and other schools and groups. He encourages children to make good choices, and TJ delivers high-fives to everyone with one special message: DREAM BIG!
The TJ Carrie Foundation is committed to teaching financial literacy to students. When serving as a mentor and volunteer at Garrett Morgan High School in Cleveland, TJ realized the students lacked a basic understanding of financial concepts, i.e., budgeting, savings, credit, debt, financial institutions, identity theft, and writing a check. He researched topics and brought the students a new lesson on finances each week. TJ's financial literacy plan has grown from a one-hour curriculum to an eight-week program and, since 2019, has increased the number of course cohorts by 300 percent.
The foundation selected an accredited NFL/VISA "Financial Football" curriculum as a guide to helping students learn and practice various financial skills. TJ has enhanced the program with multiple guest speakers who lend their expertise and share real-life business experiences. In partnership with Boys Hope Girls Hope Northeastern Ohio, TJ created a unique program allowing the scholars to earn up to $400 in "Carrie Cash" incentives. "Carrie Cash" is real money loaded onto a FamZoo Debit Card each week as they accomplish specific tasks and incentives. The scholars can increase their earnings with weekly compound interest set by TJ. They may also choose to save or spend their money as they choose. Over 80 percent of the students decided to save all of their money, and once TJ added compound interest, their savings increased by 90 percent. TJ is confident that being financially literate will allow students to make wise financial choices as they transition into adulthood and achieve their big dreams. As his favorite sweatshirt states, "Generational Wealth Starts With Me."
Check out our Photo Galleries to see Financial Football in Action.