Saad Abdul-Salaam, member of Black Players For Change, to launch Financial Literacy Program with Cincinnati Public Schools
A trio of young African-American social activists, including former Ohio prep and current FC Cincinnati (MLS) athlete Saad Abdul-Salaam, today partnered with Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) to launch a free financial literacy program at the city’s West High School.
“Kids Who Bank” is the brainchild of Jatali Bellanton, a University of Bristol (UK) bred scholar, who along with Abdul-Salaam and Jordan Awoye, Abdul-Salaam’s financial advisor, reached agreement with Cincnnati Public Schools to deliver financial knowledge aimed at an audience that traditionally doesn’t receive this valuable information.
“Our goal is to create a healthy shift in the relationship people have with wealth and we realised that there is not better phase in life to start than with our youth,” remarked Bellanton.
“Black players for Change teamed up with two finance professionals to not only pitch to the school systems but to ensure that they were flexible in engaging the youth with people who were not only successful but want to see them win. The process started out with the average meetings with school officials gaging their interest but in less than six months they were able to solidify their first students,” added Bellanton.
Abdul-Salaam, a six-year MLS veteran, has focused his off-the-pitch advocacy on bringing financial literacy and awareness to youth in communities of color. Throughout his professional career Abdul-Salaam has received guidance on financial literacy from Awoye. “Having Jordan as my financial advisor and good friend has shown me the value of financial knowledge,” said Abdul-Salaam. “Learning to save, invest, gain assets and create generational wealth has changed my life.”
Each of the 11 Kids Who Bank sessions will be 45 minutes, and will range in topics from basics like checking account vs savings account, good debt vs bad debt, credit scores and interest – all the way to stocks, bonds, taxes, assets, depreciation and business planning. The pilot program will be 25-50 kids at West High with the hopes of expanding throughout the school district in the future.
“Kids Who Bank” will be administered through “Girls to Women Leadership Collaborative” of CPS’s “Women’s Leadership Afterschool Program.” Girls to Women Leadership Collaborative is designed to provide equitable access for female students to leadership development opportunities. Ashley Felts is District Lead Coordinator for the Girls to Women Leadership Collaborative.
“This partnership is directly in alignment with what we, at CPS, want our students to leave with skills that prepare them for life,” said Felts. “We want our students to be more than financially literate, we seek to provide experiences that empower students by preparing them today for tomorrow,” added Felts.
The selection of West High School was intentional. The school is in one of the city’s most underserved communities and near the site of FC Cincinnati’s new stadium which will be opening in 2021.
Abdul-Salaam, a member of Black Players for Change, (BPC) a social activism group consisting of Black players, coaches and administrators within the MLS, wants to positively impact the community that will house his home stadium.
“I’m excited for the kids at West High to go through the program because I wish I had been able to take advantage of a program like this when I was their age,” said Abdul-Salaam. “This program is going to give them the life skills to be successful no matter which career path they choose,” concluded Abdul-Salaam.