Strengthening Native American Communities & Economies
Youth Savings Accounts and Financial Literacy for High School Students
With generous funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, First Nations is teaming up with longtime partner, Gallup Central High School (Central High), to facilitate a multimodal financial education program for student parents that includes opening savings accounts in Gallup, New Mexico over the 2015-2016 school year. Gallup Central houses the Graduation, Reality, and Dual-Role Skills (GRADS) class for student parents as part of a statewide initiative in New Mexico focused on providing support and education to pregnant and parenting teens.
Working with faculty at Central High, First Nations and the GRADS program are implementing an initiative titled the Wellbeing in Student Health and Financial Self-Sufficiency (WISHSS). As part of the initiative, the GRADS program offers financial education in a variety of formats including guest lectures from financial experts, experiential learning events, as well as through a social media application that encourages good spending and savings decisions.
Students are being provided with an initial seed deposit of $50 for a Youth Savings Account (YSA), as well as an additional seed deposit of $50 for their child’s Children’s Savings Account (CSA). During the first month of the project, the GRADS teacher shuttled groups of 3-6 students to local bank partner, Pinnacle Bank, to open up accounts for students and their children. In total, 19 students opened accounts for themselves with an additional 14 for their children (some students are expecting and will open up CSAs for their child once s/he is born). The initial deposit for both accounts was provided by First Nations, however, students are expected to save and deposit at least $50 throughout the school year. A match of $50 will be provided to students who can meet their savings goals.
Student parents are allowed to enter the GRADS program on a rolling basis throughout the academic year. First Nations and Central High will continue to work with Pinnacle Bank to open accounts as the school year progresses.