May 2020
Am I Not A Champion?

Several years ago, I read a poem written by an Elizabeth, NJ, youth named Christopher Reeves:

If not me, who,
If not now, when,
If not here, weare. [sic]

Today, I write this response to Christopher and this generation:

Are you not a champion?
Breaking through the coastal tides,
Are you not a champion?
Running towards your reward with pride,
Are you not a champion?
Fighting while others are hypnotized,
Are you not a champion?
Never worried, for today you will win your prize.

On April 23, 2020, a youth who we tutor sent me a text message at 1:45 a.m. This young man, days before, had lost his grandfather to COVID-19:

"Hello Mrs Marie, Whenever you can check ur email. I have to take a placement test for UCC to see where I'm at" Distance Learning Student

This month's newsletter is written by Union County champions who are learning about U.S. capital markets and fundamentals of the securities industry.

Thank you, Joseph Dilag, a licensed financial advisor, for helping Boxwood create our finance curriculum and for empowering our young people to thrive.

Thank you readers, friends, and partners for supporting our local champions.

Thriving forward,

Marie Thelusma-Chase, CFRE
Executive Director
Boxwood Learning Center
The Great 2020 Era
by Bryan L., Elizabeth City Youth, Career Exploration & Job Readiness (CEJR*) Program Participant
This era has many opportunities for youth to stand out and lead. As a youth myself, I see a very bright future if we all stand together as a community and lead our people towards success. Change only happens if everyone puts in the effort.

I plan to invest in stocks in companies that are essential to life during these hard times. We have to take advantage of the opportunities that are given, and we have to take them while they last.

If we push each other to do better and focus on things that will make us money and successful in the future, then we are showing the next generation of youths a great example of how to succeed. This era is perfect to start planning and start working on your goal for the future.

My goal for the future is to finish college with money from stocks saved up, so when I’m done I can have money on the side. We have to start somewhere, and I believe right now is the perfect time.

One of us is going to be running the United States of America one day — and all of the information we are gathering from our elders now will show us what to do and not do in the future. With the stock market and everything changing, I know that right now everyone should try to invest or look into stocks because it is an easy way for all of us to start growing financially.
Stock Picks
by Paul Arboleda
Hello. I'm Paul Arboleda. I'm 20 years old. I'm a graphic designer at Boxwood Learning Center. I've recently discovered more about stocks and investing into them using the stock-market simulation game on I'm interested in turning a small amount of money into some high potential returns. Although the market does have its downfalls—the prices go up and down daily—some shares in companies are able to remain solid for a good period of time to make a profit for me, the investor. Here are questions I ask youth who participate in the CEJR program:

Q: What are the best defensive stocks or stocks that are NOT impacted by market volatility?
A: In my opinion, the best companies are the ones that are not negatively impacted by COVID-19; they are Costco, Home Depot, and places with essential products and services. These companies have a lot of supplies, and/or food that people need. Also, Amazon has one of the top three best stocks at the moment. I pick those stores because during challenging times, like the current pandemic, even if non-essential stores are not open, you can always order what you need online. Also, some businesses give you options for delivery or pick up.

Q: What are the risks?
A : You get a stock in a company; at first it is doing good but then they start losing market shares. Then you'll be stuck with it unless you sell it back. If you want, you are able to have it long-term but you have to understand that it's not consistent numbers go up and down everyday.

"Investing, in general, comes with risks, but thoughtful investment selections that meet your goals and  risk profile  keep individual stock and bond risks at an acceptable level. However, other risks you have no control over are inherent in investing. Most of these risks affect the market or economy and require investors to adjust portfolios or ride out the storm."
Q: What am I expecting to achieve with this stock?
A: From stocks in my portfolio on, I expect a level of long-term stability and earnings.

For more information visit:

Q: What are my plans for this investment?
A: Plans for this investment at the moment is to see how smart I can really be with my money and how to use and spend money properly. The more stocks I invest into, the more dividends I make, then I'll be living a good life!

Disclaimer : Boxwood Learning Center, its clients, employees, Board members, and/or volunteers are not registered investment advisors nor broker dealers. We are not qualified to give financial advice. Never invest in any stock featured on our website, newsletter, and/or emails unless you can afford to lose your entire investment. Release of liability: Through use of this website and/or newsletter, you agree to hold Boxwood Learning Center, its operators, owners, employees, clients, volunteers harmless and to completely release them from any and all liability due to any and all loss, damage, or injury that you may incur. If you invest in any stock that you see in our newsletter and/or website, you are doing so at your own will.
Who are our champions?
Boxwood Learning Center is a small 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a great mission to support youth who are not in traditional pubic schools or are at risk of failing in school.
The CEJR program that is featured in this newsletter provides career exposure to court-involved youth in Union County, New Jersey. Nearly all of our program participants dropped out of high school, and are not on a pathway to gainful employment, at time of program enrollment. That is where we come in - provide mentoring, test prep for high school proficiency test, and paid internships/training in their area of interest. Our goal is to serve 30 young people ages 16-21 in the CEJR Program in 2020. For more information, please contact Laura Desiderio at

The CEJR program is a Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative and is funded by the Union County Youth Services Commission. The Youth Service Commission is part of the Union County Department of Human Services, Division of Youth Service.

Boxwood Learning Center's goal is high school diploma and demonstrated competencies in math and language arts. We expect champions to move on to post-secondary education and/or employment. We support champions until age 25 when they are gainfully employed and giving back to their community. Many of our alumni become peer mentors to youth enrolled in our programs.
Here are ways that you can partner with us to support our Boxwood champions:

  1. Tell a youth about your career (e.g. medical, finance, law, etc.)
  2. Participate as a guest on a Zoom call with our junior investors
  3. Sponsor a youth with a gift card to buy food and other essentials
  4. Donate to help sustain our programs (e.g. interns, staff etc).