by Wendy K.

I felt nervous at first when I pushed “Submit” on my Money Matters Application but after taking it all in I became so excited about all of the new opportunities I knew were going to open for me as a teen and a proud Club member of Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco. My name, is Wendy K. and I am the 2016 Money Matters Ambassador for Boys & Girls Clubs of America. In the last few weeks I have attended the 49th Annual National Keystone Conference in Dallas, Texas where my Ambassador journey began, traveled to the Nation’s Capital to celebrate Financial Literacy Month on The Hill with leaders from my GREAT state of California, participated in my first Money Matters Reality Store, and most recently sat down at Charles Schwab’s Board Meeting to tell them about the impact my Club has made on my life.

At the National Keystone Conference I was introduced to the Mr. Johnny DiBartolo-Director, Workforce Development Program, Training & Youth Development Services for BGCA- who made me feel like my Club mentors always do, proud and excited for this new journey as the Money Matters Ambassador to begin. I got to take my first set of headshots and people were starting to congratulate me. It was a GREAT feeling!

A few weeks later, I met Chris Cox- Account Strategy & Development Director for BGCA- in Washington D.C. It was my first time ever in Washington D.C. and BGCA hooked me up with my own Suite, an awesome dining experience, a personal tour of The Capitol, meetings with leaders from my state (California) to talk about the importance of the Money Matters program, a seat at the Charles Schwab table at the Annual Jump$tart Dinner, and even gave me control of BGCA’s SnapChat for all of you to see things through my eyes. During the day I rode in the underground tunnels between buildings, visited the Lincoln Memorial, and took plenty of photos in front of the Washington Monument. In these moments, I was just happy to share with people that MY Club gave ME these opportunities.

When I returned home to San Francisco, I participated in my first Money Matters Reality Store with my Club family. It was fun to meet with Schwabbies who volunteered that evening. I got to thank them for investing in my future as the recipient of their $5,000 scholarship. I even got to eat dinner with them as I gave them some insight into my own life- the struggles and obstacles I’ve had to overcome and how being a Club kid has helped support me to be successful. Not to mention, the Reality Store was really fun! It was interactive and I never thought discussing retirement or budgeting would be as fun as it was.

In the week to follow, I was invited to the Schwab Board Meeting. There I met with Carrie Schwab, Dr. Damon Williams, and got to hangout again with Ms. Elinore.  The meeting was interesting because I got to talk about my background in the Money Matters program and share my experience. I enjoyed the meeting because people were interested in me and what I had to say. I even got to go to lunch with two of my Club mentors, Dr. Williams, and Ms. Elinore on the waterfront. They asked me how we could improve our Clubs by how they approach teens and getting them interested in joining. I just wanted to eat, but it meant a lot that they really wanted to know my opinion. So I gave it to them and talked about the struggle teens face today.

People keep asking me what I look forward to as the Money Matters Ambassador and I my answer is simple, EVERYTHING.  From expanding my network of mentors, to meeting new Club kids, to traveling opportunities, and being able to promote the Money Matters program. Being the National Ambassador for the Money Matters program isn’t just an opportunity, it is THE OPPORTUNITY for my voice to be heard and for my opinion to matter. I will be writing a string of stories throughout the year and hope you will join me on my Money Matters Ambassador journey.

The Club

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