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Empowering Youth Through Financial Literacy: The Community E$$-cents' Journey

The Community E$$-cents' first cohort consisted of 10 vibrant youth interns from Evergreen High School aged 16-18 years old. Over the course of a dynamic six-week internship, we had workshops conducted by Ms. Minda Michelle Mattox of WSECU around multifaceted topics such as Race and Banking, the Psychology of Spending, and Credit Conversations. Each encounter left our interns empowered with fresh insights and valuable life lessons. When the interns weren't participating in the sessions with Ms. Minda, we were finding different ways to incorporate guest speakers from our community to speak upon their experiences and represent their diverse walks of life as business owners or leaders of local organizations, shared their personal financial stories, enriching our understanding of financial navigation during the formative years of young adulthood. We also covered topics around identifying personal goals, passions, and interests as well as how to invest in your communities. Every facet of the internship experience was crafted to ignite inspiration and growth.

It was also important to us that we supported our White Center businesses and made sure to be intentional of where we spent money. One way we ensured this was provided meals for our interns from our local restaurants such as: Seattle Grab and Go, El Salvadorean Bakery, Da Lat, Young's Restaurant, etc. 

Community cultural wealth was a quite popular topic among our interns. It's a framework that recognizes diverse ways of being, including characteristics, knowledge, practices, and attitudes. Community cultural wealth is something students already come into Westernized spaces such as higher academia, already possessing. Within this framework, there are six pillars that make up Community Cultural Wealth: aspirational, navigational, linguistical, social,  familial, and resistance. Based on end of internship presentations, the framework around Community Cultural Wealth resonated with the young people most in relation to acknowledging and recognizing their own skillsets that are often overlook and dismissed within institutionalized spaces. 

This program is in partnership with the Department of Local Services UKC (Unincorporated King County) Alliance and White Center CDA’s UCLE (United for a Community-Led Economy) Initiative.

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