Local Stories Money Smarts

United Way of San Diego County - Cristino, Dalia and Geovanny Rojas (18, 16 and 13) are the first kids in their family to have bank accounts because they learned all about banking in a United Way funded financial education program. SAY (Social Advocates for Youth), San Diego’s program, taught the Rojas kids basic financial principles, such as how to manage their money and open a checking account.

“I liked that I was able to learn how to save,” Dalia said about the program. “And I learned how to keep my money,” added her brother Geovanny. Both kids used the money they saved to buy back-to-school clothes.

Their parents didn’t understood American banking when the family first came from Mexico eight years ago, but they knew to enroll their children in a program that would encourage early financial education. Cristino got a job after graduating high school and continues to save for college.

14-year-old Carlos Rodriguez also participated in the Youth Financial Program. He was grateful to learn about the types of services banks could provide, and now he has a bank account too. The son of a single mother, Carlos is the first generation in his family to attend school in the U.S.

Nearly 9000 San Diego high school students have learned personal finance in city and county schools, preparing them to manage their money into adulthood. United Way of San Diego County knows that a good financial education is a crucial element to helping a child succeed in life. For Carlos, Cristino, Dalia, and Geovanny, financial education is like money in the bank.