Growing up in Chicago gives me multifaceted experiences that continuously help to shape my perspective on inner-city issues surrounding education and social justice. Being surrounded by so much diversity helps me to see not only my own privilege, but also the lack thereof in many nearby communities. In a city with surging murder rates and corrupt political agendas, I see education as the best way towards betterment.
The passion that has grown within me led me to an interest in the study of economics, a branch of (arguably) science that deals with the distribution of resources- exactly the longstanding problem that Chicago faces. I was fortunate enough to find an internship with the Economic Awareness Council, a non-profit organization dedicated to preparing students and their families for the financial decisions they make. They address the real needs of communities by creating tangible programs and initiatives that give youth access to economic resources. The importance in the work they do not only come from the fact that they are supplying inner-city students with legitimate resources, but also from that the EAC is fostering a sense of control and empowerment. This sense of empowerment goes a long way into helping youth recognize their own potential and find their driving motivation.
This summer, I will be working directly alongside the executive director on many different projects. First and foremost, I will be leading a group of high school interns that will be going all over the city to give presentations on financial literacy. [Since public high school is still in session, I won’t start working with them until in a week or so.] These presentations are given to young City of Chicago interns/employees who, for the most part, work in low-income neighborhoods. As the EAC partners with many local banks, bank representatives will come out to each presentation to teach youth about direct deposit, and give them access to open non-custodial free accounts with low minimums and no overdraft fees. Needless to say, the importance of being financially aware and independent is crucial to youths regardless of what they wish to pursue in the future. The EAC does a good job in recognizing that it’s necessary to reach out to students in more ways than just passing out pamphlets- there should be real life stories told by peers who allow other youth to connect and relate back. Through the hard skills I’ve learned through economic and business courses, I’m able to create learning and teaching material, as well as compile other relevant financial information for websites and databases. Boston College has taught me people skills and other soft skills that allow me to work efficiently with youth organizations and banks, as well as prepared me to lead a group of students towards a common mission. Most importantly, the Jesuit ideals that are upheld at BC has instilled in me a sense of duty to not only educate myself but others as well.
Written by Amy Jin, BC Class of 2018