Norfolk State University junior Kluvin Mornot might have better budgeting skills than many adults.

Every time he gets paid by his part-time employer, Fun Land of Fredericksburg, he writes down the amount going into his bank account.

“So I can physically see it, instead of it just being in my phone or something,” he said.

Then, Mornot budgets what he will need for his fixed expenses and takes out spending money to last for two weeks until the next paycheck.

“I can make $20 last for two weeks,” he said, adding, “It’s a blessing that I live at home.”

All the rest of the paycheck, he puts in savings for the car he hopes to buy this summer.

Mornot learned these financial literacy skills last summer at Mission: Independence, a program offered for area high-schoolers by the Rappahnanock United Way that is billed as “a boot camp for real life.”

It’s an all-day, week-long program designed to “set up future leaders,” said Andrea Benavides, RUW’s financial stability manager.

This year’s boot camp will be offered July 29 to Aug. 2.

“We saw a need,” Benavides said. “When they leave high school, kids get put into adulthood and they’re not prepared. They make decisions based on need and those decisions catch up to them. This is about preparing the next generation for adulthood.”

Topics discussed at the boot camp include résumé skills, financial literacy, understanding credit, living with roommates, mental and physical health and how to “live united” as a member of a community.

The program was offered for the first time last year and was open to college students as well as high schoolers. Kluvin and his twin brother Kluvert, who graduated from James Monroe High School and attend Norfolk State together, found out about it through Open Hand of Fredericksburg, a nonprofit dedicated to youth development.

“The program was a big help on our path through college and life readiness,” Kluvert Mornot said.

Kluvert said that for him, the most useful part of Mission: Independence was the résumé-building workshop.

“Before, my high school adviser made my résumé. I didn’t get a grasp of how to do it,” he said. “Now I can do it myself and my résumé looks great, and I can build multiple résumés for different jobs.”

He added that he also helps his friends write their résumés—for a fee.

The brothers said they think high school students need a wake-up call.

“I feel like kids are not getting what they need to do to get ready for life,” Kluvert said.

The identical twins got their wake-up call when they went to separate colleges for their first semester. That experience gave them an opportunity to see themselves as individuals instead of one half of a matching set, and though they’re now together again at Norfolk State, they have different majors—marketing for Kluvert and computer science for Kluvin—and different career goals.

“If I were in high school and getting ready to go to college and I took this class, I would know so much more than I did going in,” Kluvin said.

Benavides said this year’s boot camp will incorporate feedback from last year and be “more dynamic.”

“So instead of a guest speaker from the community coming in to talk to the kids, let’s actually go to an apartment complex to learn about how to be a good tenant. Let’s actually go out and do a project in the community. So we have a community partner providing transportation for field trips,” she said.

Registration for the weeklong boot camp is $99 and scholarships are available. To register, visit

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Adele Uphaus-Conner: 540/735-1973


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