KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- There are a lot of songs about money -- getting it, having it losing it. Like the song, Money, Money, Money, in which Abba laments about how sad it is to have to work all night and all day to pay the bills and still there never seems to be a single penny left -- too bad. Making our kids more financially savvy so they don't necessarily have to got through that is a big priority of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
And this week's FOX 4 Young Achievers are champions of that effort to educate young America about their money, money, money.
America's money and the U.S. financial system are on vivid display at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. And four students from Grandview High School in Grandview, MO teenagers are getting an exclusive guided tour of it and getting special praise from one of the most influential leaders shaping the nation's economy, Esther George, the president of the Kansas City Fed. The tour and the praise from the top are part of the recognition these teenagers are getting for soaring in a major youth financial literacy program sponsored by The Fed.
"It's been a lot of fun," says Grandview High School student Katherine Bartlett about the experience at The Fed. "It's nice to get the exposure. It's an honor to know so many different people are reaching out to us and wanting to learn more about what we've been doing. It's been a lot of encouragement for other students to get involved and learn more, as well, too."
What they've been doing is educating themselves on their personal financial situations and creating a project that helps the rest of young America become more financially literate, as well. The centerpiece of their work is a five minute video the students produced as members of the Grandview High chapter of FBLA, Future Business Leaders of America, on the importance of youth financial education and developing effective personal financial strategies .
"The message is this," says Grandview High School student John Wallace of the video, "America's youth are important when it comes to financial literacy. America's youth are important when it comes to the economy. And because of that, they have to act responsibly with their finances."
"Because we're all going to be out in the world very soon," says Grandview High School student Elder Valle, "and we're the ones who are going to be running the world very soon and we just want to be ready and we want to inform our peers about it so they can be ready, as well."
The big reward for these young leaders for their impressive financial education project, besides learning a whole lot more about their own personal financial situation, was a fabulous field trip to
"The experience we might not have again in our lifetime," says Grandview High School student Rodney Murray. Last month, The Fed and the Congressional Black Caucus sent the Grandview students to Washington, DC -- expenses paid -- to attend the National Youth Financial Education Summit.
"They are phenomenally bright," says Krissy Young, Vice President and Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. "I think you can tell that through the quality of the video they submitted. They understand what it takes to have a sound personal financial future. And I think the program was just a reinforcement for them. It was a learning process but it really helped them understand how it plays out in the real world."
They got to see America's great monuments and rub shoulders with some of the nation's top political and financial decision-makers. And it did, indeed, reinforce for them how important money knowledge is for their generation.
"It really means a lot," says Rodney, "because we've grown more and learned our financial part. We didn't know anything about what we were getting into. We just knew that money made the world go 'round. And without it you're nothing. But now we've learned that if you don't budget your money correctly and you don't know how to spend, if you don't know what you're doing, you can go broke and you'll be in a deep enough hole that you might not be able to get out of it.
The Kansas City Fed and other Federal Reserve Banks across the country have ongoing financial education programs for students. And they have financial literacy and money management and budgeting strategies for adults, as well. Go to http://federalreserveeducation.org/.
FOX 4 News is Working 4 You to spotlight outstanding young people and their positive accomplishments. In our weekly report called Reaching 4 Excellence we meet young achievers in subjects like academics, the arts, leadership, community service, volunteerism, career exploration, overcoming obstacles and heroism. Watch for Reaching 4 Excellence every Monday on FOX 4 News at 8 a.m., every Wednesday on Fox 4 News at 9 p.m. and every Thursday on FOX 4 News at 5 p.m.