By Sam P.K. Collins
For years, legions of young people enrolled in the Young Money Managers program not only learned about financial literacy but taught what they’d learned to their peers during the summer, all while conducting research about the effectiveness of the growing program.
As the Young Money Managers program enters its 10th year, officials at the D.C. Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking (DISB) have expressed a desire to provide internships during the school year.
Meanwhile, some Young Money Managers alumni, like Shinada Phillips, credit the program with jump starting their career in District government.
Phillips, 31, joined Young Money Managers at its infancy in 2013 upon her graduation from the University of Lynchburg – then Lynchburg College in Lynchburg, Virginia. She counted among those who built the program and assigned students to summer youth employment sites across the District to teach other young people about financial literacy.
She said her passion for the topic brought her into the government operations and outreach space, where she continues to serve today.
“The program exposed me to financial literacy,” said Phillips, a District government management analyst with aspirations of running an agency.
“It’s beautiful just being able to see the cohorts of people across the city of different backgrounds getting into financial literacy and personal finance,” Phillips said. “That program allows me to leave a legacy that serves youth and underbanked adults so they can empower themselves and be financially literate.”
DISB’s Young Money Managers program, supported by Summer Jobs Connect – Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund, has gained national recognition with agencies in St. Louis, Chicago, Miami, Syracuse, New York and Baltimore developing programs with a similar framework.
In total, 190 young people between the ages of 18 and 24 have participated in the Young Money Managers program since its inception. The program recently started accepting youth as young as 16 years old as part of a financial services academy.
This past summer’s cohort delved into aspects of banking, along with insurance, securities and investing. As has been the case for several years, DISB hosted a practice networking and a luncheon during which representatives of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation spoke with students.
In the first three weeks of the nine-week program, participants learn about various aspects of banking and finance, all while sharpening their presentation skills in preparation for their excursions to various summer youth employment sites.
The youth also take on jobs such as Young Money Managers data analyst, social media analyst and facilitator. They do this as they immerse themselves in financial education, professional development and networking, along with resume preparation and review.
DISB recently added a business writing component, as part of what DISB Director Michelle Hammonds described as a well-rounded experience.
“We’re teaching young people layers of personal finance and how to manage and facilitate a program,” said Hammonds, who carried on the program from her predecessor in 2016 when she took over DISB’s Office of Financial Empowerment and Education.
“We ultimately act more as a caveat so they can learn how to do the work we’re doing. It aligns with DISB’s work because we’re doing financial education in the community. We partner with those [summer youth employment host sites] so young people can come out and share this information,” she said.
Walter “Heru” Peacock said he will forever remain grateful to DISB for helping him become financially literate and develop his skills in data analytics. Peacock, a 28-year-old Ward 7 native, joined the Young Money Managers program at the completion of his junior year at Howard University in Northwest.
In his role as a data analyst, he collected data from pre- and post-tests to determine how many of his peers at summer youth employment sites had acquired the knowledge passed on to them from Young Money Managers representations.
These days, as a hip-hop violinist and guitarist, Peacock continues to execute the lessons learned on the job years ago. He said doing so has allowed him to flourish in his multifaceted career and build a future for himself and his family.
“The vulnerability of our culture is that music encourages us to spend money on nice and flashy things [but] we have to build up the right habits for future success,” Peacock said. “Learning about good spending habits as a young adult and teenager makes investments easier. Everyone was in the same boat struggling during the pandemic. It’s not about how much you make but how much you save.”
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