In 2014, Union Bank opened a student run branch on the campus of Crenshaw High School to teach students about money management and leadership. Recently, the students of the bank branch helped teach parents, staff, and community members the importance of financial literacy at their Family and Friends Night.
“The whole idea was reversing it, having our student interns teach the financial literacy to their parents,” said Vernell Taylor, Branch Manager of the Crenshaw high branch.
The bank branch partnered with Junior Achievement and hosted the event in Finance Park, a facility designed to teach students about budgeting money, financial responsibility and wealth building.
“We are extremely happy to have our community here,” said Maynard Brown, the lead teacher of the Business, Entrepreneurship, and Technology program at Crenshaw. “They are on the pathway to increasing wealth in our community, which puts us in the mainstream of financial services and wealth creation in this country.”
At Finance Park, every participant goes through a simulation. They are given a scenario which includes a false occupation, age, annual income, marital status and amount of children. Participants had to budget their income in order to pay their bills, apply for insurance policies and purchase necessities.
“I enjoyed the volunteers, I enjoyed the people that were taking us around and doing the simulation with us,” said music teacher Iris Stevenson. “It really helps you to save money, the budget keeps you from over spending.”
People taking the simulation received their information and processed transactions via iPads. The Union Bank students helped guide the parents through the simulation, displaying the lessons they have learned during their time at Union Bank.
“I’m trying to apply for a loan, currently trying to pursue my education while I continue to work as well,” said Scott Swift, an English teacher, in regards to his scenario. “I think it’s very important for our students to understand financial literacy in the real world and to have the hands on opportunity to do so.”
Financial professional and author Ramsey Jay, Jr. helped emcee for the event and gave every participant his new book “Empowering Dreamers To Become Achievers,” Junior Achievement sponsored the book giveaway.
“In my opening remarks, I talked about five very basic principles: learning, earning, managing, saving, returning,” Jay said. “When you put those principles in front of finance, it’s amazing how much you can do, no matter how much you have.”
The Union Bank interns did most of the planning for the Family and Friends Night, according to Vernell Taylor.
They even chose Jay to be the emcee.
“These are great lessons for young people and tonight really just serves as a reinforcement for those who are already in the budgeting world,” said Brian Williams, president and CEO of Junior Achievement.
Sixty parents, faculty, and community members attended the event. Junior Achievement board member Louis Lucido mentioned how the event should take place at Crenshaw high school in order for more community members to attend.
“Too many times in life, people enter in a community as a taker,” Lucido said. “J.A., its approach, and its discipline is to come in and become teachers and partners with the students and people we relate to.”