FLAMES Brings Financial Literacy Back to TMCC

A student receives financial advice from three FLAMES staff inside their office.
Kate Kirkpatrick

When taking classes and figuring out whether you can afford another expense–such as moving into a new home or opening a new credit card–it can be daunting to feel like you have all the information. Making an informed decision is essential to ensure you’re not taking on too much debt.

The TMCC Financial Aid office is restoring the Financial Literacy and Money Education by Students (FLAMES) initiative, which supports students on topics like managing debt, taking loans, and understanding budgets.

“FLAMES is a free peer-to-peer mentoring program available to all TMCC students to assist where they might be struggling with questions about financial issues,” says Brendan Patin, Financial Aid Coordinator. “Peers often understand each other's challenges and experiences, and being able to relate to each other on a personal level creates a safe and comfortable environment for sharing concerns and seeking advice.”

“Like the TMCC Financial Aid staff, FLAMES peer mentors are well-versed in financial aid eligibility requirements; however, FLAMES mentors can discuss their financial situations, set financial goals, and receive guidance on financial literacy topics,” said Patin.

“Our mission is to help develop and maintain a financially literate campus through guidance and mentoring,” said student David Estrada, who is serving as a FLAMES peer mentor. “We want to build trust with students by mentoring and connecting them to resources for anything financially related.”

As part of the support offered by the TMCC Financial Aid office, FLAMES peer mentors will present a series of workshops and events to educate fellow students on topics related to financial health.

“We currently have a campaign focusing on loans, budgeting, credit, and banking information and plan to teach students about these topics through fun games and presentations,” Estrada shared. “We’re looking forward to our first event on Tuesday, April 9, and partnering up with TMCC Student Government Association and Greater Nevada Credit Union to provide some fun relief in conjunction with the SGA blood drive.”

“FLAMES is proud to be for students, by students. We believe the best way to learn is through your peers and a one-on-one connection with someone who wants to talk about financial literacy,” continued Estrada, majoring in biomedical engineering.

“I became involved with FLAMES as I come from a household that was never financially literate,” explained Estrada. “I took this as an opportunity to improve myself and the people around me to adventure into the world of financial literacy. I know how hard it is to try and understand how money works. Being a part of FLAMES lets me exercise my accrued knowledge in financial topics and be someone I wish I had when learning about financial literacy.”

It isn’t the first time that students have been able to benefit from FLAMES at TMCC—they are making a triumphant return after taking some time off during the pandemic.

“The part I'm most excited about is the one-on-one mentoring with students. I want to build trust with people where they can comfortably ask me questions that will help improve their financial lives,” said Estrada. “Everyone in FLAME$ is excited to be back; we want to become a staple here at TMCC, and a reason why people chose this amazing campus to further their education!”

If you’re ready to learn more about financial literacy, FLAMES will host their first event on Tuesday, April 9, from 11 a.m.–1 p.m. in the V. James Eardley Student Center. Stop in for games, prizes, and fun.

“Students can take advantage of mentoring services, whether they are searching for the latest scholarship and grant information or just want to get peer advice about managing money wisely,” added Patin. “It’s as simple as making a convenient on-campus appointment.”

For more information, visit the Financial Aid Office in the Red Mountain Building, room 315, during regular business hours.