Youth participant_bring mom to USThe first Boston Youth Bank Day on July 27 was a huge success!  Hosted by the Mayor’s Office of Financial Empowerment and the Department of Youth Engagement and Employment, Youth Bank Day 2015 sought to connect Boston summer youth employees with banks and community nonprofits, encouraging youth to take charge of their money through responsible banking practices and financial literacy.

Youth participant_collegeApproximately 400 youth employed in summer jobs from around the City attended the event at the Reggie Lewis Athletic Center in Roxbury, stopping by various tables with representatives from banks and non-profits, allowing guests to inquire about branch locations, banking benefits, savings plans, and ways to make post-secondary education a reality. Youth were encouraged to write down what specific items they are saving for, with the most popular response being “college.”  Other financial goals ranged from the very serious (e.g., “bringing my mom to the U.S.”) to the more practical, like “saving to purchase school supplies” and “saving to own a home and car.” Some were even more whimsical: “whatever it takes to make my dreams come true!”

Youth GroupRepresentatives from the banks were also pleased with the turnout and interest in youth banking.  “Working with the youth on Bank Day was a tremendous experience, said Joe Green, Vice President, Community Outreach Advocate for Citizens Bank. “They were extremely engaged and asked some great questions about getting their finances on track, from the basics of banking to the specifics about planning for retirement! It’s so powerful know that we’re making a truly positive impact by simply answering banking questions.”

Dana LeWinter, Executive Director, Massachusetts Community and Banking Council, commented, “Boston’s Youth Bank Day introduced youth, many of whom are bringing home their first paychecks this summer, to the importance of banking, saving, and being responsible with their money. MCBC’s Basic Banking for Massachusetts program works to expand access to bank products and services and to encourage those with limited banking needs to establish banking relationships.”

Bank volunteers 2He continues, “Youth Bank Day fostered this work by ensuring that youth become well-informed and better able to utilize banking services to their advantage. The youth that I spoke with, many of whom have no checking or savings accounts, impressed me with their curiosity about banking products and a desire to utilize summer work experiences to establish banking relationships and to save for their future goals. The energy in the room was contagious and I hope all of the youth walked away feeling excited and confident about their futures.”

Bank volunteers 1Youth Bank Day was the spearheaded by the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development and the Department of Youth Engagement and Employment, with support from the Boston Redevelopment Authority. “We were delighted to see so many engaged and enthusiastic Boston youth representing different organizations throughout the City,” said Trinh Nguyen, Director of the Office of Workforce Development who hopes this level of engagement solidifies Youth Bank Day’s place as an annual tradition. “Our bank and community partners reported great enthusiasm and thoughtful questions from attendees, including some youth who signed up for checking accounts.”

Shari DavisParticipating banks and community organizations included: Bank of America, Capital One, Century Bank, Citizens Bank, City of Boston Credit Union, East Boston Savings Bank, Eastern Bank, FDIC, Metro Credit Union, Santander, Massachusetts Community & Banking Council, Bottom Line, College Bound, Doorways to Dreams, Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority and Roxbury Community College.

Roxbury Community College’s Cecile Regner, Interim Vice President of Academic and Student Affair, provided an official welcome to the group before Shari Davis, Executive Director of Youth Engagement and Employment, took over as Master of Ceremonies.