By Rebecca Blanco
Monday, December 15th Latino College Preparatory Academy students pitched their business ideas to a panel of business professionals for a chance to work with a business mentor and potentially fund their ideas for up to $500.00. This program was funded by Silicon Valley Bank, who sent two representatives to judge the pitch competition: Amy Lopez, a Fair Lending Officer and Danielle Garcia, a Relationship Advisor. We also had Curtis Coleman of the United States Army and Emily Gause, The District Sales Manager of Northern California of Chrysler rounding out the table.
"As a fairly new member of the Operation HOPE family, my highlight for the year occurred during my first month of action in October. It happened when I saw the excitement on youth's faces as they participated in our BOOF program. Additionally, a valuable highlight was the lessons that I learned about coordinating successful programs with our partners."
As Operation HOPE increases its presence and impact across the country, we see that much of our success in working towards poverty eradication and community empowerment is in large part thanks to our community friends who support our vision and provide a helping hand on the ground. Many have heard the quote by Japanese poet Ryunosuke Satoro, “Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” This is true not solely for an individual, a department, or even for those within a single company. This idea is the key to how nonprofit organizations, small businesses, grassroots efforts, and Fortune 500 Companies work with one another.
Operation HOPE is promoting #GivingTuesday, a movement dedicated to giving back celebrated on December 2nd. After camping outside of stores on Black Friday and rapid fire clicking from online shopping on Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday reminds us that the holidays are about more than exchanging Apple products. It is a day to donate time, money or items to help those in need.
As part of its ongoing commitment to responsible banking and to help increase youth financial education, MUFG Union Bank, N.A., partnered with financial dignity nonprofit Operation HOPE (HOPE), and Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley to educate elementary students about the basics of personal finance. Union Bank volunteers Robin Gold and Molly Fedorchak began teaching HOPE’s award-winning youth financial literacy program, Banking on Our Future, to members of Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley on October 1. The five- week course culminated with a recognition ceremony to celebrate the students’ completion of the program on October 29.
For the fourth year in a row, Operation HOPE Oakland and the Oakland Raiders are teaming up to fundraise for Operation HOPE Oakland's Youth Empowerment Programs. The Raiders are offering discounted lower level tickets ranging from $55 - $75, with $20 from every ticket sold going to help fund programs like Banking on Our Future, a free youth financial literacy curriculum, and HOPE Business-in-a-Box Academy, a youth entrepreneurship program offered at no cost to our schools.
Sunday, October 19th the Oakland Raiders hosted Cleveland Elementary School, US Bank, and Operation HOPE at the O.co Coliseum for a celebration of their work in financial literacy. At a short ceremony at the Oracle Arena, US Bank Government and Community Relations Vice President Lisa Joyner, Raiders CFO Marc Badain and Operation HOPE Oakland Market President Tyrone Cosey spoke to the Cleveland Elementary School students, congratulating them on their accomplishments and encouraging them to keep thinking about finances early!
My week as a fashion design student and fellow at Operation HOPE started off intense as usual, but surprisingly it ended with a rewarding calmness. On October 3, 2014 I taught my very first Banking On Our Future session with Mike Sokolowski. For two weeks I prepared activities and a lesson plan geared on how I would execute teaching my peers about financial empowerment and dignity. My plan was to connect realistically with the intention of relieving frustration concerning financial literacy. When I arrived to the class I was excited to get started!
Tuesday morning, the Cubs of Cleveland Elementary School in Oakland received a lesson in financial responsibility and a surprise visit from one of their very own Oakland Raiders.
I was introduced to Operation HOPE's work through their Banking On Our Future (BOOF) program last June, when I was a senior at Wadleigh High School in Harlem. Our class visited First Republic Bank in Times Square for a full-day BOOF workshop on different financial education topics. This is when I met many of FRB's volunteers, including Angela Russo, Operation HOPE's New York Youth Empowerment Program Manager and Casey McQuillan, their Summer Project 5117 fellow.
This summer, in my various roles with Operation HOPE, I learned to see both the forest and the tree; a combined focus on the local with an understanding of the whole to create a more holistic approach to financial dignity.
As an entering high school senior, Valeria Diaz knew she wanted to do something important with her summer. She attends East Bay Arts High School where she took Video Production and was trained in Adobe Premiere her junior year. Halfway through the class she knew she was in love and started working on personal video projects with her friends after class. But Valeria is also interested in business, with aspirations to run her own video production company one day.
The Summer Night Lights (SNL) program is a public and private partnership undertaken by the City of Los Angeles Mayor’s Office of Gang Reduction & Youth Development (“GRYD”) and The GRYD Foundation. As a violence reduction program, Summer Night Lights targets one of the seasons of greatest need and the locations historically impacted by such violence (evidence shows increased gang-related violence during summer months.) In addition, the SNL program hires and trains teenagers and young adults from the community who are at risk for gang involvement and/or gang violence.