The 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.

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Approximately 400 youth employees from around the City attended the event at the Reggie Lewis Athletic Center in Roxbury, stopping by various bank tables and non-profits, inquiring 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 savings item being “college.”   Other financial goals ranged from the very serious: “bringing my mom to the U.S.; cost of living; future,” to the practical: “house, car; car insurance; laptop, cell phone; bicycle, school supplies, travel,” and the whimsical but heartfelt: “whatever it takes to make my dreams come true!”

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Representatives 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, they were extremely engaged and asked some great questions about getting their finances on track, from the basics of banking all the way to one of them asking about planning for retirement! It was so powerful after the event to know we touched and helped so many of them with their banking questions.” said Joe Green, Vice President, Community Outreach Advocate for Citizens Bank.DSC_0038_Edited

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 your 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.  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 their desire to utilize their summer work experiences to establish banking relationships and 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.”

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Youth Bank Day was the brainchild of Trinh Nguyen, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development, who hopes to make the event an annual tradition: “We were delighted to see so many engaged and enthusiastic Boston youth representing different organizations throughout the City, and our bank and community partners reported great enthusiasm and thoughtful questions from attendees, including some youth who signed up for checking accounts.”

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Participating 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.

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