Money Matters in Indian Country
In January, 2005, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) received funds from Charles Schwab Bank to implement a special financial education pilot project at four Native American Boys & Girls Clubs. This initiative focuses on promoting financial responsibility within select Native American communities and engages Native American young people in activities that will help them build basic money management skills. Using Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s financial education curriculum, MoneyMatters: Make It Count, developed in collaboration with the Charles Schwab Foundation and made possible through the Foundation’s funding, each site has designated a program coordinator to establish a financial education program at their Club. The pilot sites are charged with evaluating the curriculum’s suitability for Native American communities and providing recommendations for adaptation and usage by Clubs in Indian Country.
Boys & Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale–Lehi and Red Mountain Branches (Salt River), AZ completed implementation of the program at the Clubhouses and the Teen Site at the local high school. A total of 80 youth participated in the Money Matters program. The Club also ran a parent session for 30 adults.
As the program developed, the Club was able to enlist local financial planners as volunteers to lead weekly program activities. This proved to be a tremendous strength for the program. In addition, the Club successfully engaged volunteers from the local Charles Schwab office to serve as guest speakers, provide support at Club and community events, and host field trips to their offices.
A highlight for both participants and Club staff included a field trip to Arizona State University during Native American Week. The group met with financial aid and admissions advisors, and then took a campus tour. Afterward, participants watched the Ms. Indian ASU Pageant. Teens appreciated the diversity of the university campus.
The Club scheduled sessions in the evening to accommodate the schedules of teens and provided a light meal. In addition, Keystone members provided childcare, allowing older siblings and parents to participate in the program.
In January 2006, the Club launched Money Matters at the local high school as part of a Free Enterprise class. Its goal is to reach between 200 and 250 teens this year. At the same time, adult sessions will be led by volunteers from Charles Schwab.
Boys & Girls Club East Valley–Komatke Unit (Gila River), AZ implemented three cycles of Money Matters with a total of 32 teen participants. The Club reports that recruitment became easier as the program progressed due to “word of mouth” advertising. Club members were generating ideas to market the program to other teens including notebooks and T-shirts with the Money Matters logo. For the final cycle, the Club offered the program to Keystone members and junior staff at the Club!
The Club incorporated field trips to banks, the Tribal Finance Department, a local convenience store and other small businesses.
Boys & Girls Club Mason Valley–Schurz Unit (Walker River Pauite), NV completed three cycles of Money Matters; two cycles at the Schurz Unit and one at the Yerington Unit. During the summer, the Club chose to run concurrent sessions with two age groups in order to access the Tribe’s summer youth workers; one group was 12-13 year olds and the other 14-17 year olds.
The Club was able to utilize resources from a local credit union; they provided mock checkbooks and ledgers to participants. These tools provided realistic practice to participants and were very well received. Parent enthusiasm was so great that by the end of the program, the Club had been asked if it would offer the program to adult members of the Yerington Paiute Tribe.
Boys & Girls Club of Las Vegas (Moapa Band of Paiutes), NV completed one cycle of Money Matters for teens who were preparing for summer jobs with the Tribe. As teens found summer employment, the Club saw increased interest in the program; however, work schedules prevented youth from continuing to attend the Club regularly.
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