Monica in DC

Learning the skills necessary for financial independence and well-being.

Teens Start Financial Futures Today
Posted 04/16/2019 by Monica O. in Youth Voice, Partner News

Since we all need money, it’s important that we know how to responsibly use it. Unfortunately, many young people do not have the skills necessary for financial independence and well-being. It wasn’t until I was given the opportunity to learn more about all things money at my Club that I truly started to understand the importance of this for my future.  

I first joined the Boys & Girls Club when I was 12 years old. My mom and I had moved from my hometown of Los Angeles to Reno a year earlier, and the transition was difficult for me.  At the Boys & Girls Club, I finally found a place where I belonged. I made lasting friendships, became a teen volunteer, mentored younger members and earned a position as a Junior Staff. Through this process, I rediscovered the strong, joyful voice I once had.

The Boys & Girls Club has not only inspired me to rediscover my voice, but has also provided me a space to use it. With the support of Club staff, I have become a leader among my peers and younger members. I was named the 2019 Nevada State Youth of the Year and had the opportunity to share my story with my community, including in front of 800 people in November.

Monica O.

One of the most influential programs I got the opportunity to participate in was the Money Matters program through a partnership with the Charles Schwab Foundation and Boys & Girls Clubs of America for teens across the country. I learned about debit and credit cards, creating a useful budget, avoiding predatory lending, opening and managing a checking account, and building a savings account. I also got to visit the Charles Schwab headquarters in San Francisco, where we explored career opportunities and worked on skills like networking and building our personal brand.

Today, I am the national Money Matters ambassador, and I am passionate about sharing the impact this program and planning for a positive financial future can have on a young person.

For the past two years, I’ve managed the front counter at one of the busiest Boys & Girls Clubs in my community. Being on the front lines gives me the opportunity to get to know our families and be solutions-oriented when I face a challenge at work. I’ve been able to help people and it’s given me the confidence to pursue a career in nursing and make helping others my full-time job.

Because of my experience with Money Matters, I know I am financially a step ahead of many of my peers. Since beginning work at the Boys & Girls Club two years ago, I automatically deposit $40 of every paycheck into my savings account. Today, I have over $3,000 in savings. I am on track to graduate in the top 10% of my class with an honors diploma and a 5.0 GPA. I have been accepted into the University of California, Irvine and plan to attend this fall to begin my studies in nursing to fulfill my dreams. Through the Boys & Girls Club, I have already accumulated $20,000 in scholarships to help me fund my education.  

Five years ago, I stepped into the Boys & Girls Club as a timid, self-conscious 12- year-old with the simple goal of making new friends, never knowing the fruitful journey that I would embark on at the Club. I am beyond grateful to have the opportunity to participate in Money Matters and build a positive future for myself.


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