In honor of Financial Literacy Month in April, Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Charles Schwab Foundation selected teen Arianna Akinwunmi from Frisco, Texas to serve as the 2018 National Ambassador for the Money Matters financial education program and receive a $5,000 scholarship. Now in its 14th year, the Money Matters program teaches the basics of personal finance and the importance of an early start to financial responsibility.
One in five (22 percent) U.S. teens lack basic financial literacy skills, and the U.S. ranks seventh out of 15 participating countries in the evaluation of 15-year-olds’ ability to understand essential financial concepts, according to the Program for International Student Assessment. As the National Money Matters Ambassador, Akinwunmi will advocate for early financial literacy in an effort to help teens across the country expand their knowledge of money management.
Since the program’s inception in 2004, more than 850,000 Boys & Girls Club teens have completed Money Matters in more than 1,700 Clubs. The program aims to help young people achieve financial independence and well-being. Through the program, Charles Schwab Foundation has presented more than $550,000 in college scholarship grants to Boys & Girls Club teens who excelled in the program and demonstrated newly acquired personal finance skills.
Akinwunmi, now a high school senior, first became interested in the Money Matters program in fourth grade and completed the course at her Club during her eighth grade year. Since then, she has shared her newfound financial knowledge with other youth at Boys & Girls Clubs of Collin County and throughout the Frisco, Texas community.
“The financial education program helped me prioritize my needs and wants so I can achieve my goal of earning a college degree with minimal student loan debt,” Akinwunmi said. “I now have confidence that I am in charge of my financial destiny, not my parents or corporations, and that achieving financial freedom at a young age is possible.”
With a current 4.0 GPA, Akinwunmi plans to major in finance at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Upon graduation, she hopes to start her own business with a focus on community service. Eventually, Akinwunmi plans to offer entrepreneurship classes to young people so they too can earn the financial freedom to follow their dreams.
“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.”
In addition to Akinwunmi, 10 other Boys & Girls Club teens will receive $2,500 scholarships for their outstanding personal finance leadership skills.
“The Money Matters program teaches Boys & Girls Club teens like Arianna how to responsibly handle their finances and take steps towards a financially fit future,” said Jim Clark, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “After participating in the program, our Club members have the knowledge and confidence they need to establish healthy financial habits. We’re so proud to recognize Arianna and are grateful to have an expert partner in Charles Schwab Foundation to help our young people achieve important financial milestones, from opening up their first bank account to applying for college scholarships.”
2018 $2,500 Scholarship Winners:
- Arturo Corona, Boys & Girls Clubs of Carson (Carson, CA)
- Ellen Lao, Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco (San Francisco, CA)
- Enoch Dumas, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta (Atlanta, GA)
- Everardo Guizar-Valencia, Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco (San Francisco, CA)
- Irene Dominque, Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida (Orlando, FL)
- Jannely Nunez, Boys & Girls Clubs of Carson (Carson, CA)
- Joey Tran, Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco (San Francisco, CA)
- Kimberly Garcia, Boys & Girls Clubs of Carson (Carson, CA)
- Lyric Carter-Perry, Boys & Girls Clubs of Milwaukee (Milwaukee, WI)
- Maria Reyes, Boys & Girls Clubs of El Paso (El Paso, TX)