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Teen and Capital One Teach Parents Financial Literacy At P.S. 209

When Grand Concourse resident Michael Gray was a high school student at Fordham Leadership Academy, he participated in Capital One Bank’s Student Bankers financial literacy program.

The program left such an impression on Gray, who is now 19 years old and a paraprofessional at P.S. 209 on East 183rd Street, he decided to implement it at his job. The catch, however, was that the school only goes up to third grade, so instead of teaching the students about financial literacy, he taught the parents.

Gray teamed with Capital One and its younger generation of Student Bankers to hold a financial literacy seminar for about 75 parents this past May. The highlight of the event was a Jeopardy-style game that quizzed participants on various money-management-related categories such as credit, banking, and bank services.

“I’ve lived in this area in my whole life so I know everything that goes on in the neighborhood,” Gray said. “So I knew this would be useful.”

An example of a question asked of the parents was “What is APR?” Student bankers from Bronx Capital One branches were on hand to help explain the answers, in the case of the example-Annual Percentage Rate.

“The game itself was something to give parents tips they can use improve their financial outlook,” Gray said. “Any little thing they can do to improve their situation could help them tremendously.”

In addition to his paraprofessional job, Gray is getting his bachelor’s at Baruch College. He has not declared a major yet, but said he is more interested in going into teaching than finance. He said he would like to help expand the program to include parents, as opposed to just students.

“We have gotten calls form other principals saying they want to try this workshop in others schools,” he said.

Gray’s mother Glynis has worked as a secretary at P.S. 209 for the past 10 years. She helped him organize the workshop and reach out to P.S. 209 parents.

“It was very positive,” she said. “We asked if they would like to see it continue and all the parents said they would.”

John Habermann, Bronx market president for Capital One, was enthusiastic to see a participant in the student banking program help spread the gospel of financial literacy.

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