Mrs. Tracy Frizzell, President Economic Awareness CouncilMoney Smart Week is continuously evolving to include new ways to reach out to youth about the importance of financial education.
Of course, among the 1,500 partner organizations that come together for Money Smart Week, many target youth and young adults to expand their knowledge of money and how it can work for them if managed properly. One of the most successful partners in this endeavor is Tracy Frizzell, President of the Economic Awareness Council (EAC). The EAC was founded in 2003 allowing local volunteers to provide financial education programming to a small number of local students. The EAC board and volunteers, comprised of educators and business professionals, started efforts small, volunteering in only a few schools presenting to various classes on financial issues. Through one of their partners, they were introduced to Money Smart Week, and after participating in the campaign their exposure and impact grew dramatically. In the EAC’s first year they were serving about 50 students, whereas now they reach more than 12,000 a year. They succeed by relying mainly on ‘by teens, for teens’ programing, finding that students can relate much better to students closer to their own age with similar life experiences. There is also a very large focus on providing financial access for low income teens, many of whom do not have a bank account. The EAC partners with different banks through the America Saves and related pilot campaign, Young Illinois Saves, to help students open a bank account after getting their first paying job. This has been a huge success and many students are taking advantage of this great opportunity.
Frizzell also runs On the Money magazine. Established in 2006, this publication is written by teens and continues to impact students all throughout the Chicago area. On the Money is written by a team of 20-30 student interns (up from 5-10 in 2006) in grades 9-12, mostly from the Chicago Public School system. They are provided with a stipend for the year in exchange for developing, editing, and publishing different pieces on financial issues facing teens. This project has come a long way from its debut issue, increasing its circulation from 1,000 to 5,000 students, and its content from 8 to 20 pages. There is also a newly implemented entrepreneur focus track, where students can participate heavily in the production, marketing and human resource areas that are all crucial for yielding a successful publication. This program is incredibly career focused, giving the interns assistance with building and updating resumes, practicing interviewing and also offering scholarships for college. Frizzell and the entire team at the EAC have made such a positive impact on the youth of Chicago, the Money Smart Week team could not be more proud to call her a Money Smart Week partner!
For more information on the Economic Awareness Council or the On the Money Magazine, check out the EAC Website.