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Amalgamated Bank hosted a workshop for local high school students at their Harlem branch in conjunction with National CARES Saturday, Feb. 6.

The workshop, which ran from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., was organized by Amalgamated Bank and Harlem CARES in conjunction with its local ancillary Harlem CARES and Teachers College of Columbia University.

“We did this event on Saturday through our local affiliate Harlem CARES, and the primary focus for doing it is we recognize that through our community reclamation process and really trying to create pipelines for young people, we knew that we had to do an event that would really focus on financial education as well as what are the tools that’s necessary to identify colleges and post-secondary opportunities,” stated Stephen Powell, chief program officer of National CARES Mentoring Movement.

“Harlem CARES represents one of 58 affiliates, and our central goal for the organization is to recruit, direct and train volunteers who are going to work as mentors for our young persons,” added Powell.

“What I do want to lift up is the fact that we do this work through collaboration, and the youths that did attend Saturday’s event came to us through our partnership with the Harlem Boys and Girls Club and Kappa Alpha Psi Kappa League.

National CARES is an organization dedicated to helping young adults from under-resourced communities achieve college preparedness through mentorship. “What we do around the country is we work with organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club. [We’re] really trying to connect the dots with these community partners to provide the services that we need to provide.”

Attendees were provided a substantial amount of information, which included learning the importance of having a checking and savings account, how to track their spending, how to budget and tips on building a savings plan.

“The first half of the programming was presentations from the Columbia Teachers College, in which they talked about road mapping, planning and what you need to get to college or whatever it may be that you want to do after high school,” stated Catherine Creager from Amalgamated Bank.

“There were then a number of interactive components to the presentation that they did with the young people. The latter half of the presentation was a financial literacy component that was presented by our Amalgamated Bank Community Relations Officer.”

Amalgamated, which is the country’s leading progressive bank, works with National CARES in its “Donate the Change” program. National CARES receives a donation from Amalgamated each time one of their clientele makes a purchase worth $10 or more on their eligible debit card.

“In looking at our program, our relationship and campaign with Donate the Change with National CARES mentoring event, over the course of several months we were looking at other opportunities for us to engage in the work that they do particularly in our communities, so it worked out very well that they have an affiliate in Harlem where we have a branch,” added Creager.

“We’re just really passionate about the work that National CARES does to support children with mentoring and training wellness, and we were really thrilled to be able to provide the space at one of our branches to be able to help support children directly in our community. Amalgamated nationally has been an amazing support of our organization, and we couldn’t have chosen a better partner in doing this transformational work with,” stated Powell. “The information that was shared on Saturday was so relevant for the parents of the young people that we serve. It’s a part of the overall design of our organization to do a very holistic approach, where the same information we are sharing with our young people, we can also share with our parents.”

Fifteen students, a handful of parents and representative were in attendance. Young adults, parents or anyone interested in learning more about National CARES and their affiliates can visit www.caresmentoring.org.