Health and Financial Literacy: Teaching Kids to ‘Train Like a Norse’
If you are in the field of education, then you know that people are in it to make a difference. Though Jeni Houser and Abdullah Al-Bahrani are currently both teaching, they come from very different backgrounds. This year, they kicked off a program that they call “Train Like a Norse.” The program merges Houser’s passion for health and fitness literacy with Al-Bahrani’s commitment to financial literacy.
Both believe that education is primarily about relationship building, connecting with students, and sharing their personal stories. “As educators, our enthusiasm for the subject is important. It is contagious, and when expressed, it is picked up by our students,” says Al-Bahrani, who holds a doctorate in labor and public economics.
“I found my love for teaching when health and fitness changed my life,” Houser says. “I was overweight [and] sick and tired of being unhealthy. When I experienced my own weight-loss journey, I knew I had a vehicle to transform lives as a personal trainer. I took it a step beyond the gym and created a classroom-like experience, educating my clients about health and fitness so I can empower them to lead better lives. I believe in my clients, and I am there for them as their biggest cheerleader when they need it most. I’m working hard on the virtual classroom at Jenergy.coach, giving folks different options to live their best life yet. Health and fitness is a holistic journey, and I can teach you how to create the balance you need to thrive.”
“I learned about the power of education during my undergraduate studies,” Al-Bahrani says. “I was a semester away from dropping out; I was lost; and I could not figure out what to do with my life. That is when I took an economics class with my favorite professor. It wasn’t necessarily the subject that changed my life, even though economics teaches you about decision-making. It was the teacher who changed my outlook. He taught me about goal setting, hard work, and most importantly about dreaming. That is what I bring to my classrooms today. Mentorship is the main reason why I am an educator.”
“I want to help my students lead a better life — a life where they set their own goals and create plans to reach those goals,” Al-Bahrani continues.
“My teaching relies heavily on group projects like Econ Beats. Through these projects, I am able challenge my students. I am able to show them that with direction, they can excel.”
Train Like a Norse
Houser and Al-Bahrani recently collaborated to create Train Like a Norse through the Northern Kentucky University Center for Economic Education. It’s a middle-school program designed to teach students about the importance of investing in oneself both physically and financially. “Our curriculum is designed to equip students with health and financial literacy resources that allow them to make better decisions in the future,” Houser explains. “We believe access to education is what determines success in life. Our two diverse passions have collided to create an innovative curriculum that helps change lives.”