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Financial Literacy

A group of young adults from the Meridian Housing Authority’s YouthBuild program recently toured Citizens National Bank as they concluded a 15-week financial literacy class taught by representatives of the bank. The young adults are part of YouthBuild, a national program that supports young people who aspire to improve their lives by helping them obtain an education and employment skills and prepare for future careers. “The Meridian Housing Authority YouthBuild program continues to grow and offer certificates of completion about overall citizenship, while also specializing in many other life skills,” said Neil Henry, regional president of Citizens National Bank. “This class has averaged around 15 stu- dents and has been amazing,” he said. “I did a 12-week program with them, and they wanted more when it pertained to savings, credit, debt and budgeting.” On Thursday, the participants wrapped up about three months of financial literacy classes, taught by Henry and the bank’s community development director Tra Alford and community development officer Tyeisha Smith, with a tour of CNB’s Down- town Banking Center and a celebration in the fifth floor auditorium, where they heard from guest speaker Trey Long, owner of Long Cleaning Solutions. Over the 15-week course, the young adults learned about budgeting, checking and savings accounts, credit, the dangers of debt, how credit is compromised, investments, entrepreneurship and more. “They’ve really bought in,” Henry said of the young adults. “Several of the stu- dents have opened accounts (savings and checking) and have worked on their credit with a Scorebuilder loan.” The Meridian Housing Authority received a $1.5 million YouthBuild grant to implement the program locally and to provide educational opportunities and skills training to at-risk youth in the community. A first group of young adults, ages 16 to 24, completed the financial literacy classes earlier this year with a third group expected to start in the program soon. “We partnered with the first class in the spring and early summer, while we were invited back by Gretchen Luvene of The Meridian Housing Authority to participate and partner again with the second class beginning in the late summer and this fall,” Henry said. This second group of young adults, all who live in public housing, will now move on to the next stage of YouthBuild and part of this will be to assist in building a house, he said. “Both Tra Alford and Tyeisha Smith of Citizens National Bank have been very involved in this course, while other bankers have also participated,” Henry said. “It’s been a team effort and something we’ve enjoyed as we grow our relationship with our students, our community and with Meridian Housing Authority.” Article provided by Glenda Sanders with The Meridian Star

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