Teens Nationwide Learn Essential Lessons about Personal Finance through Innovative Implementation of the Money Matters: Make It CountSM Program
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SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In an effort to recognize Boys & Girls Clubs across the nation that have gone above and beyond in teaching youth the basics of personal finance, Charles Schwab Foundation has announced the 2011 winners of the Innovation Awards. In their third year, the annual awards recognize Clubs that exemplify unique and enterprising techniques for delivering the Money Matters: Make It Count curriculum, a Charles Schwab Foundation and Boys & Girls Clubs of America teen financial education program. One Boys & Girls Club was selected from each of the country’s five geographic regions for its demonstrated commitment to making personal finance education compelling and meaningful to today’s youth. The following winners will each receive a $3,000 grant from Charles Schwab Foundation.
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta (Georgia),
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Southwest Washington (Washington),
- Boys & Girls Club of Cheyenne (Wyoming),
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia (Pennsylvania), and
- Boys & Girls Club of Dane County (Wisconsin).
While each winning Club employs different strategies and techniques to teach critical personal finance skills, a common theme for all involves reaching outside the framework of the Money Matters curriculum to encourage hands-on, experiential learning. The different approaches include simulation of real-life financial decision-making, entrepreneurism and engagement of local business leaders.
For example, Boys & Girls Clubs of Southwest Washington developed a partnership with a local bank as a way to integrate Money Matters concepts into daily Club operation. With help from bank volunteers, the Club created the Boys & Girls Club (BGC) Bank, where teen Club members took on leadership roles to design and operate the Bank. Club members led marketing and advertising initiatives, implemented a Club-wide contest to choose the BGC Bank design and organized bank information sessions. They also used skills learned in the entrepreneurship section of Money Matters to open the Club Bucks Store, where members could spend Club Bucks earned for good behavior. Through both of these ventures, Club members learned how to manage a checking account, write checks, earn interest on a savings account and also learned vital job interview skills.
Like the Southwest Washington Club, Boys & Girls Club of Cheyenne and Boys & Girls Club of Dane County created their own initiatives to make Money Matters truly interactive. Club teens at the Cheyenne Club showcased entrepreneurship through developing and implementing a business plan for their own Club candy store. Dane County Club members created the STAR (Saving to Achieve Results) Credit Union. More than 450 Club members opened an account with the youth-operated bank, giving Club members an opportunity to put their Money Matters skills to work.
“One of the most innovative ways we are implementing Money Matters is by engaging our younger members and exposing them to finances through our STAR Credit Union,” said Michael Johnson, chief professional officer for Boys & Girls Club of Dane County. “While the Money Matters program is designed for teens, at our Club members as young as seven are learning about saving. Our vision was to not only teach the kids about money management, but to provide them with hands-on experience.”
Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia used the Money Matters curriculum to educate their members on preparing for college. Local experts from PhillyGoes2College, an organization geared toward helping Philadelphia students obtain a college degree, teamed up with the Club to walk teens through the financial aid application process. Information about financial aid opportunities and application instruction resulted in grants, scholarships and loans for several Club members.
“Concentrating our Money Matters programming on topics like paying for college and applying for financial aid has really made a difference for our members,” said Jeffrey Waldron, chief professional officer for Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia. “Most of our teens do not have a mentor at home to advise them in this process, but with the help of our staff and this program, our teens have learned that pursuing a higher education is within their reach.”
Finally, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta used technology to create a more collaborative learning environment and positive peer influence approach. Group lessons were created for participants to complete as a team, and the Club’s computer lab provided an opportunity for teens to incorporate the Money Matters website, www.moneymattersmakeitcount.com, as an additional asset to the curriculum. Program participants applied the practical lessons they learned to their daily lives. Three members in particular showed their entrepreneurial spirit by opening their own lawn care and dog-walking businesses.
About Money Matters: Make It Count
Funded by Charles Schwab Foundation, Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Money Matters program is designed to promote money management skills among teens, ages 13-18. The program consists of fun, interactive activities and exercises on topics such as using a checking account, managing debt, saving for college and learning the basics of investing. The program is targeted primarily at teens from underserved communities.
Nearly 325,000 youth in over 1,700 teen Boys & Girls Clubs across the U.S. have participated in Money Matters since it launched in mid-2004. In addition, Charles Schwab Foundation has presented a cumulative total of $390,000 in scholarships to 187 Club teens who completed Money Matters and demonstrated exceptional financial skills from their newly acquired knowledge of personal finance.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of America
For more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (GreatFutures.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, nearly 4,000 Clubs serve some 4 million young people through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native American lands throughout the country and on U.S. military installations worldwide. They provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun and friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Club programs promote academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 57 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more at bgca.org/facebook and bgca.org/twitter.
About Charles Schwab Foundation
Charles Schwab Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization funded by the Charles Schwab Corporation. Its mission is to create positive change through financial education, philanthropy, and volunteerism. More information is available at www.aboutschwab.com/community. The Charles Schwab Foundation is classified by the IRS as a charity under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Foundation is neither a part of Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (member SIPC) nor its parent company, The Charles Schwab Corporation. (1011-6299)