By Jessica Washington, Youth Empowerment Group Manager


Operation HOPE’s Youth Empowerment Group in Atlanta recently joined strategic partner Wells Fargo to host a special edition of the  Banking On Our Future program at Turner Middle School in Douglas County, Georgia. A team of 45 Wells Fargo volunteers facilitated the curriculum to more than 375 students, introducing them to the language of money, incorporating Wells Fargo’s “Get Smart About Credit” simulation exercises into the Banking On Our Future curriculum.

Turner Middle School Principal, Mr. Darron Franklin, expressed extreme gratitude: “Our students come from all different demographics; from homelessness to highly educated. I can guarantee that the lessons you bring today will impact each of their lives and help them become better stewards of their money in the future.”

Highlights from the event include having Operation HOPE Southeastern Board Member and Wells Fargo Southeast Region Credit Manager, Eli Marks, in attendance. Marks presented lessons on compound interest and simple budgeting to the students. HOPE Business In A Box Co-Chair and wife of John Hope Bryant, Natasha Foreman Bryant, described the event as huge success. “The business ideas were solid, feasible, innovative, and quite interesting. This is also a credit to Jessica Washington because Youth Empowerment Program Managers are responsible for overseeing the journey from classroom to stage. As co-developer and founding consultant of the HOPE Business In A Box Academies initiative, I am very pleased with what I experienced that day, and how the students conducted themselves during and after the competition.

The first cohort of HOPE Business In A Box Academies is now in place. Thanks to a grant from Wells Fargo and a committed team of volunteers, students will have the opportunity to learn how to start a business, compete in pitch competitions and receive mentorship from HOPE Business Role Models.

If you’re interested in bringing HOPE Business In A Box Academies to your school, please visit If you are in the metro Atlanta area, please submit your interest to