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Breaking Bread retreat at Rocklands Market in Berkeley, Ontario gathering youth to learn financial literacy skills

Urban Rez Solutions partner Farley Flex led financial literacy workshops during the day with youth from across the GTA.

Breaking Bread retreat at Rocklands Market in Berkeley, Ontario gathering youth to learn financial literacy skills
Talia, pictured here. Youth from the GTA participated in the third Breaking Bread retreat, hosted at the Rocklands Market in Berkeley, Ont. The retreat is designed to teach youth about financial literacy. ALICIA SAYERS PHOTO

The Rocklands Market hosted its third Breaking Bread retreat on June 24 in Berkeley, Ont.

The event brought a handful of youth to the 13-acre event space and studio facility. The Breaking Bread Retreats focus on financial literacy and culinary workshops featuring a day of discussion on several topics, including the importance of budgeting, saving and teaching skills to feed family and friends.

Urban Rez Solutions partner Farley Flex led the financial literacy workshops. Celebrated chef and artist Roger Mooking also led the culinary workshop during the day with youth from across the GTA.

“The idea of bringing people outside of their comfort zones, geographically speaking, coming to a place that’s Black-owned and operated, is a very, very uplifting experience, to say the least,” Flex told Black Dollar Magazine.

“We just impart on them basic financial literacy from the standpoint of saving, budgeting, you name it. There’s a financial trauma that has happened intergenerationally for anybody who’s colonized or marginalized or racialized, right? So, what we do is bring edification to that enlightenment, to that empowerment, most importantly.”

Urban Rez Solutions Social Enterprise is a non-profit organization that provides conflict management, mental health wellness, community engagement strategies, entrepreneurship training, tools to fight anti-Black racism, and diversity and inclusion training across the GTA.

The organization, in partnership with Rocklands Market, held two events on April 29 and May 20, featuring Andre Smith, founder of Flip and Floss and Flip Academy — a real-life simulation that uses games and animation to teach kids about financial literacy.

During the event, the students discussed businesses in progress and their future goals while analyzing how financial literacy plays a role in the equation.

The youth were asked about their budgeting habits, including how much they save from paycheques and how often they use credit to pay for recreational purchases. The group also highlighted the importance of living within your means and discussed the definition of wealth.

“The true definition of wealth is how long you can sustain your today-lifestyle. If money was cut off today, how long would you last?” Flex said.

Ian Webster, head of The Financial Fighter and investment advisor, is another featured guest of the Breaking Bread retreats.

He discussed his journey from the bowels of corporate Canada to start his business as a financial planner.

“I was nervous because I don’t come from an entrepreneurial family. I didn’t have any experience and I got really frustrated in the banks before I decided, 'OK, you know what, I’m going to go out on my own right now and try something to do something on my own,'” Webster said.

“I already had a mortgage. I already had my first child. And that was like putting fuel under me to make sure that we’re not starving, that we’re not kicked out of our house.”

It’s been over two decades since he took that leap, bet on himself and achieved success. Now, he’s teaching youth, along with Flex, Mooking and Brereton, how to overcome their circumstances with clear, intentional action.

“We’re focused on budget, savings, and credit. I want them to really take away the budgeting piece, and be able to use credit for their benefit and have credit not hurt them,” Webster said.