By ELISE McKEOWN SKOLNICK
Huntington Bank and the Boys & Girls Club of Youngstown kicked off a yearlong financial literacy partnership with a Martin Luther King Jr. Day program.
The goal is to give the children, age 6 to 18, the basics of understanding financial literacy, said Sandy Lisko, regional marketing manager for Huntington Bank.
The children were divided into two groups: 12 and under, and 13 and over.
The younger kids learned about ways to save money, such as in a piggy bank. Lisko explained banks as an alternative, to keep their money safe and earning interest.
The older children learned more in-depth details about bank accounts, including the various types of accounts, debit cards and identity theft.
“A lot of these children, especially teens, don’t even really understand the concept of an ATM,” Lisko said. “They think the money just magically appears.”
So the Huntington employees are trying to teach them the importance of saving and goal- setting, she added.
The program is a good opportunity, said Joshlyn Kitchen, 12, of Youngstown.
Kitchen earns an allowance for cleaning at home.
“I spend it,” she said.
She looked forward to learning about savings and bank accounts during the program.
“It is very important to learn about banking because wherever you go, there’s always money involved,” said Keshona Harris, 17, of Youngstown.
She does not have a bank account, but is planning to open one soon.
“I will definitely need to know something about that,” Harris said.
“I think this program is essential to what we’re looking to do for our outcome for these youth,” said Ruthie King, Boys & Girls Club executive director. “The mission of Boys & Girls Club is to have our kids reach their highest potential and be caring and productive citizens.”
Financial literacy is needed for that, she said.
The partnership with Huntington Bank marks the first time the club has worked on financial literacy with members.
“Our kids are excited to be able to have the opportunity to learn more about managing money,” King said. “This is going to be part of our core curriculum moving forward.”
The Boys & Girls Club of Youngstown works to provide programs and services in a safe, supervised environment and to inspire and enable young people to realize their full potential as caring, productive and responsible citizens.