ATLANTA, April 11, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- In honor of Financial Literacy Month, Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Charles Schwab Foundation have selected teen Monica Okopal from Reno, Nev. to serve as the 2019 National Ambassador for the Money Matters: Make It Count financial education program. As the National Ambassador, she will receive a $5,000 scholarship and will advocate for early financial literacy for youth to help teens across the country expand their knowledge of money management. Now in its 15th year, the Money Matters program teaches the basics of personal finance and the importance of an early start to financial responsibility.
Since the program's inception, youth have participated in Money Matters 1 million times gaining the knowledge and skills necessary for financial independence and well-being as adults. Today, the program reaches 86,000 youth annually at more than 1,600 Clubs. Money Matters was designed to lead Boys & Girls Club members ages 13-18 toward a healthy investment in their future selves that sets them apart from their peers.
"For a decade and a half, the Money Matters program has taught teens like Monica how to make financially fit decisions," said Jim Clark, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. "Thanks to our longstanding partnership with Charles Schwab Foundation, we've been able to help young people in our Clubs learn how to achieve financial stability – a life skill that will carry them through college, career and beyond."
A refreshed curriculum, to be released this year, guides teens in thinking about how the financial decisions made in high school impact future goals, as well as leading teens to envision life in their twenties.
Over the course of the program's history, Money Matters has proven effective in teaching basic money management concepts to teens. An independent evidence-based evaluation of the program in 2012 found participants demonstrated strong growth of specific knowledge related to financial literacy. Participants showed the greatest improvement in the areas of saving and investing and managing credit and debt.
"The National Ambassador program is so valuable because it celebrates the difference that financial education can make in someone's life," said Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, president and board chair of Charles Schwab Foundation." It also celebrates the power of peer-to-peer influence, which is so crucial in helping young people learn the importance of lifelong engagement with their finances."
Okopal is an honor student with a current 4.85 GPA at Damonte Ranch High School in Reno and attends the Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows. She plans to study nursing at the University of Nevada, Reno.
"Completing the Money Matters program had a major impact on my life. I felt the most important thing I learned was about saving," said Okopal. "Whether I'm saving up to buy a new car or preparing for college, Money Matters showed me how quickly money can build up overtime when you set it aside."
In addition to Okopal, 10 other Boys & Girls Club teens will receive $2,500 scholarships for their outstanding personal finance leadership skills. The 2019 $2,500 scholarship winners include:
- Karissa Jackson, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta (Atlanta, Ga.)
- Nichole Poblete, Los Angeles Air Force Base Youth Programs, (San Pedro, Calif.)
- Naj-ja Sherman, Boys & Girls Clubs of Collin County, (Frisco, TX)
- Jemiah Fields, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta (Atlanta, Ga.)
- Jessica Tran, Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco (San Francisco, Calif.)
- Charlie Nguyen, Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco (San Francisco, Calif.)
- Raquel Newkirk, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta (Atlanta, Ga.)
- Eric Jones, Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford (Hartford, Conn.)
- Jaxon Jordan, Boys & Girls Club of LeFlore County (Poteau, Okla.)
- Cindy Lei, Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco (San Francisco, Calif.)
Through Money Matters, Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Charles Schwab Foundation have awarded $580,000 in scholarships to Boys & Girls Club teens since the program launched 15 years ago.
For more information, visit moneymattersmakeitcount.com.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of America
For more than 150 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, more than 4,300 Clubs serve nearly 4 million young people through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers 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, 54 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more at Facebook and 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 https://www.schwabmoneywise.com/public/moneywise/foundation. 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. Charles Schwab Foundation and Boys & Girls Clubs of America are unaffiliated entities.
SOURCE Boys & Girls Clubs of America