Fair Haven is a Diverse Community with a Rich History and a Beautiful Waterfront
For the first time, participants in the summer jobs program Youth@Work had the chance to sign up for direct deposit and open a savings account at Start Community Bank in their own name, no parent co-signor required. The account came with an ATM only card with a limited daily withdrawal amount. Every Youth@Work employee, over 500 of them this year, first went through "Loot Camp" where they learned about budgeting, setting SMART savings goals, learning how a credit history follows them through life and affects not only a loan decision, but often whether or not you get a job! Each week the teens got "nudges" via email or snail mail reminding them of their savings goal -- and to encourage them to save enough to be entered into the iPad2 drawing. 74% of the teens that had savings accounts qualified to be entered, and of those, 40% saved $300 or more -- not bad for a 6 week part time job!!!
The lucky winner pulled out of the hat at random was Samantha Emily Ortiz. She worked for the summer at Youth Rights Media. She is a student at the Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School, and lives in the West Rock area.
She was accompanied to the bank to receive her iPad 2 by her stepfather, Ulysses Carr, USMC. Currently stationed locally, he has recently served in Afghanistan. Samantha's Mom is currently visiting family in Puerto Rico, and works as a 911 dispatcher for the New Haven Police Departrment.
Start Community Bank CEO Bill Placke made the official presentation in front of many supporters of the program and the bank. He said that this pilot program reminded him a bit of driver's ed: if you go through the training, you want to drive a car! These young adults made it through Loot Camp, and they got to manage their very own bank account. More importantly, they have started to understand more about managing their earnings, and to learn the language of finance.
This was a team effort among the bank, the city payroll department, the Youth@Work staff, all of the companies and nonprofits that gave these teens a chance to work this summer, and last but not least the team at Start Bank who displayed endless patience and mentoring for our newest members.