Jenkins Elementary celebrates financial literacyThe National Coalition of 100 Black Women/Prince William County Chapter (NCBW/PWCC) has partnered with John D. Jenkins Elementary School, and Prince William County Public Schools (PWCS) to launch an initiative designed to help teach students financial literacy.

"We have implemented this Leader-In-Me and Financial Mentoring Program for third-fourth-fifth graders each month, commencing September 2019. We are truly blessed because we have also partnered with Apple Federal Credit Union (AFCU) and National CARES Mentoring Organization," said Dr. Alice H. Howard, organizer and past president of the coalition.

Coalition members and PWCS representatives hold plaque awarded to Jenkins Elementary NCBW/PWCC has opened savings accounts for 40 students participating in the Leader-In-Me Financial Mentoring Program. As part of the program, coalition members have reinforced math skills taught by classroom teachers each month, with a goal of helping students master concepts needed to be successful in passing math Standards of Learning (SOL).

"The Leader-In-Me Program is an excellent way for students to focus on leadership skills, financial literacy, and their math SOL objectives. PWCS is very appreciative of the collaborative efforts and wonderful partnership with AFCU and the National Coalition of Black Women, PWCC," said Carolyn M. Custard, PWCS liaison.

Speaking at an event launching the initiative, the Reverend Gordon Jenkins, son of Earnestine Jenkins, recalled how his father, John Jenkins, encouraged him to open a savings account when he was in third grade. It was just that important to his dad. Lillie Jessie, PWCS School Board member, Occoquan District, recognized the many supporters of the initiative and stressed how essential it is for young students to learn about money early in life.

Coalition and PWCS members gather at the Apple FCU goodie table Nataliya Stolmeier, manager of the Woodbridge Apple Federal Credit Union, talked about the importance of saving and how starting early can be a key factor for the future. Responding to Stolmeier's question, "What is money and where does yours come from?," revealed a broad range of experiences these children have had handling money.

Coalition president, Shelia D. Coleman, presented a $400 check to Apple Credit Union representatives, so that they may open each student's account with a $10 deposit. Dr. Howard then presented a plaque from NCBW/PWCC to Jenkins Principal Marlene Coleman, honoring the John D. Jenkins Leader-In-Me and Financial Literacy Mentoring Program and recognizing the many groups and individuals who have supported and donated to the effort. During this presentation, Coleman also announced the coalition is in the process of securing funds to be donated to the school each month for the purchase of school supplies.

PWCS Superintendent Dr. Steven Walts closed by addressing the students directly. He emphasized not only how important financial literacy is, but also urged them to stop and look around the room to see how fortunate they are to have so many people supporting the effort to give them this great head start. "It truly is a gift," he said.