OneUnited Bank hosts ‘I Got Bank’ art, essay competition for children

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One of the winners of a special contest that highlighted children’s financial literacy said what she has learned is really paying off, and she wants to encourage others to follow her lead.

She hopes they will also learn a valuable lesson about financial responsibility.

“We actually award the $1,000 by August 31,” OneUnited Bank President & COO Teri Williams said.

OneUnited Bank is sponsoring their 11th Annual Financial Literacy Contest for children.

The contest helps to encourage children between the ages of eight and 12 to learn about saving, loaning and growing money.

To participate, children can submit a 250-word essay or an art project about what they learned from the book “I Got Bank!” or any financial literacy book for children.

Williams wrote “I Got Bank!” over a decade ago.

“I started to write a little pamphlet that we could use in schools and that pamphlet actually turned into a book,” Williams said. “The book was published. It’s called ‘I Got Bank,’ and we started using it in schools and found that it was very, very helpful. We said, ‘Why don’t we get the word out to a lot more people and start a contest?’”

The book is available to the public for free on OneUnited Bank’s website.

One of last year’s contest winners, 9-year-old Amina Anyabwele, shared what she learned after reading the book.

“There’s this 10-year-old boy named Jazz Ellington and he had a lot of money in the bank — $2,000,” said Amina. “His brother, mother and sister were trying to spend it all on concert tickets, a car loan and a new car.”

So, the boy decided to start a business to make money for his family. Like the boy in the book, Amina also started a business of her own.

“So, it’s called Mimi’s Little Fancy Face, and it’s a sensitive skincare business for children,” she said, “so it has cleansers, toners, moisturizers and also the face gems, which I’m wearing.”

Her parents said the contest was a great way for Amina to learn about money and how to run a business.

“Since she was about 4, [she] wanted to start her own business, and it was all about let’s wait ’till you learn some of these principles and learn the dynamics of business,” said Amina’s mother, Tanitha Anyabwele.

“I heard about the essay contest, and we sort of just waited for her to be the right age to join it and start the journey that way,” said Amina’s father Javonte Anyabwele. “It sort of serendipitously coincided with the fact that she was wanting to launch her own business.”

Tanitha said this is an incredible opportunity for parents to introduce their children to financial literacy early on.

“It’s critical for us as a community to introduce this to children, so that they grasp the understanding before they make poor decisions with money, and so they can also learn to invest in themselves,” she said.

All essay and art submissions are due by June 30.

For more information on the contest, click here.

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