Boys & Girls Clubs of America Improves Teens’ Financial Literacy
In an effort to educate and reduce teen debt Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the Charles Schwab Foundation have created a financial literacy program entitled Money Matters: Make it Count.
The Money Matters program, implemented three years ago, is designed to promote money management skills among teens ages 13-18 from vulnerable backgrounds. In order to capture the attention of teens, Boys and Girls Clubs of America developed fun and interactive activities and exercises on topics such as using a checking account, managing debt, saving for college and learning the basics of investing.
Components of the program include:
- Teen Personal Finance Guide — Includes practical tips and activities to help teens learn the important skills of balancing a checkbook, creating a budget and investing for college and retirement. The guide also provides basic entrepreneurial information for teens interested in starting businesses.
- Facilitator’s Guide — Contains basic financial concepts that Club staff and volunteers can use to help teens understand the benefits of effective money management. Easy-to-implement small-group activities that are typically completed in less than an hour supplement and reinforce the information in the Teen Personal Finance Guide.
- Money Matters Web site — An interactive, engaging tool that teen program participants can use to balance a checkbook, make budgeting and investment decisions and learn about starting a business. The site also features a saving and financial aid calculator to help teens plan for college. This secure Web site launched in Spring 2004 at http://moneymatters.bgca.net.
- Schwab Employee Volunteer Program — An opportunity for Schwab professionals to volunteer at Clubs and share their financial expertise with teenage Club members and their families. Employees will be encouraged to participate through a variety of ongoing communications.
- Money Matters Awards — Presented to youth who complete the entire curriculum. The achievements of each participant will be recognized with a certificate of completion, and winners will also be selected based on their performance. Prizes are to be given out according to age group: college scholarships for the 16-18 year old winners, and MP3 players for the 13-15 year old winners.
Last year, the Boys & Girls Club of America set a goal of teaching financial literacy skills to over 86,000 teenagers across the country. Teens have already commented that the program has influenced them to become more careful and responsible with money, open and start a savings account and learn how to budget.
Boys & Girls Clubs of America, a National Family Week partner, comprises a national network of more than 3,900 neighborhood-based facilities annually serving some 4.6 million young people, primarily from disadvantaged circumstances. Known as “The Positive Place for Kids,” the Clubs provide guidance-oriented character development programs on a daily basis for children 6-18 years old, conducted by a full-time professional staff. Key Boys & Girls Club programs emphasize character and leadership development, education and career development, health and life skills, the arts, sports, fitness and recreation. Click to view site.