17-year-old Wendy K. of Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco is the 2016 National Ambassador for the Money Matters: Make it Count financial education program, which teaches the basics of personal finance and the importance of an early start to being financially responsible.
Since the start of high school, Wendy has participated in the Money Matters program at her Boys & Girls Club each year. With every lesson, Wendy is given guidance and resources to hone her financial management skills in preparation for her college career. After her first year in the program, Wendy became a counselor-in-training to mentor other teens about budgeting and managing their money. In addition, Wendy has also applied the skills she learned in Money Matters to her leadership roles within the Club and during her time spent doing community service in 2016. The knowledge and behavior she gained from the program has helped her to successfully manage the budget for the Keystone Club, BGCA's premier teen leadership program, where she served dual roles as treasurer and president. For Wendy, budgeting time is also very important and enabled her to maintain a 4.1 GPA and do 300+ hours of community service this past year.
"Living in an urban environment with limited income for myself and my family, I understood the importance of money from an early age," said Wendy. "But the Money Matters program taught me healthy financial habits that I can apply in real life to positively impact my financial situation. The most influential lesson I learned is how to budget my expenses, distinguishing between wants and needs in order to save the money I earn for future investments. As a junior in high school, one of my current goals is to go to college to study for a career in accounting. Through Money Matters, I not only learned how to save my own money to make that dream a reality but also gained insights into opportunities available for financial assistance for higher education."
As the 2016 National Ambassador for the Money Matters program, Wendy's goal of pursuing a college education in accounting is more attainable than ever as she will receive a $5,000 college scholarship from Charles Schwab Foundation. She also earned the opportunity to take part in Financial Literacy Day on Capitol Hill and the Jump$tart Annual Awards Dinner on April 5-6, 2016
"Our Money Matters National Ambassadors are selected based on their impressive achievements in acquiring and applying personal finance knowledge and skills, applying the values that BGCA instills, and demonstrating their commitment to sharing the importance of financial education with their peers," said Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, president and board chair of Charles Schwab Foundation. "Wendy has demonstrated success in both of these key areas, applying the skills she's learned to reach her own personal goals while also helping teens at her Club understand how to strengthen their financial fitness."