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Philadelphia Youth Commission hosts conversation about financial literacy

Philadelphia youth commission
Darryl Murphy

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia Youth Commission hosted another discussion in their monthly Youth Conversation series Wednesday at City Hall. This month the topic for the advocacy group was financial literacy.

Ricardo Calderon, director of PYC, said the idea for the panel discussion came from the commission’s budget committee, which wanted to give youth something to think about as many will soon begin looking for part-time summer employment. About a dozen attendees listened to discussions about personal banking, long-term saving, and incorporating financial literacy in school curriculum.

“As a 15-year-old, 16-year-old, 17-year-old, of course we want to get jobs,” Calderon said.

“But once we get that job, what’s going on with our paycheck? What does that look like? How can we start making decisions in our lives to be financially literate?”

The panelists included Soneyet Muhammad, director of Education at Clarifi, a non-profit organization that specializes in debt management and financial literacy; Andrew Hill, economic education advisor for the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia; Jill Bazelon, founder of Investing in Ourselves, a non-profit organization that promotes positive lifestyle habits including saving and investing; and Erin Ellis, financial educator for Philadelphia Federal Credit Union.

“I think that getting kids more engaged in this discussion is really important,” said Hill.

“One of the things really awesome about this discussion was that all of the kids really engaged in thinking about what the future for young people is going to be in Philadelphia, and that’s really important.”

Marissa Haden-Williams, a freshman at Pierce College, said she learned a lot from the discussion and as a member of Year Up, a non-profit organization that works to close the opportunity divide among youth, she will share the information with her colleagues .

“Now, we have a new mission,” she said. “We have to get in touch with these kids and get in touch with the school about everything that we learned today. And I definitely want to bring it to the school’s attention how important it is for student’s to know [about financial literacy.]”

The Youth Conversations series will continue on May 31 to discuss public safety.

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