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Outreach to Build Financial Literacy

St. Andrew’s, Cleveland has an outreach program for high school students to learn how to build financial literacy and relationships with banks. Partnering with KeyBank in downtown Cleveland, the program offers five to seven workshops a year centering on various topics such as credit, budgeting, and loans. A significant part of the process also focuses on crafting an understanding of college payments. Students are given resources to research tuition costs, scholarships and grants, and financial aid.

Johnny Williams, a veteran teacher and parishioner of St. Andrew’s, started this program to give students the opportunity to form sustainable relationships with banks and stimulate their awareness of financial institutions and processes. Williams was inspired to kickstart this program while teaching fourth graders.

He realized the kids’ perceptions of banks were distorted and that it could impact future financial relationships. Shortly after, Williams, in collaboration with other St. Andrew's congregants, wrote grant requests to implement the workshops.

St. Andrew's partners with two other local youth outreach ministries in Cleveland to promote the program. For each one, Williams initially works with the students to build a vocabulary and basic understanding of that workshop’s focus. From there, students are brought to the KeyBank Education Facility and given the opportunity to learn from Steve Harmon, a member of KeyBank staff. Williams says that Harmon serves as a teacher and role model for the participating students.

St. Andrew’s is providing a vital service for students which will provide a lasting impact. This knowledge allows students to educate themselves and help family members become acquainted with financial mechanisms. Williams says that this program is unique in that they’re “not handing them anything other than education.” He believes that his involvement within this program has allowed him to “learn so much about life,” and provide an enormous resource for teenagers in Cleveland.

A portion of the funds raised by the Bishop’s Annual Appeal have gone to support St. Andrew’s outreach ministries. For more information about the work of Episcopal Community Services or to make a gift to the Bishop’s Annual Appeal, please visit or contact Betty Kondrich.

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