Asheville high schoolers picked as Bank of America Student Leaders

Celia Clark
Celia Clark

Press release from Bank of America:

Bank of America today announced that two Asheville high school juniors selected as Student Leaders(#BofAStudentLeaders) have started their paid summer internship experience of leadership, civic engagement, and workforce skills-building.  In light of the health concerns that remain in local communities, the program has been adapted to a virtual format, through which students will have the opportunity to participate in sessions that will expose them to the vital role that nonprofits play in advancing community health, the importance of public private partnerships to advance social change, and a focus on building financial acumen. 

The Class of 2020 Asheville-based Bank of America Student Leaders are:

  • Celia Clark, Asheville, NC, Asheville High School, YWCA of Asheville
  • Makenzie “Kenzie” Pauley, Asheville, NC, Asheville High School, YWCA of Asheville

Asheville Student Leaders participate in programming that leverages Bank of America’s national partnerships and expertise and will work closely with the bank’s Asheville leadership and nonprofit partners. They have participated in a collaborative, mentoring-focused project working closely with YWCA of Asheville to assist in Strategic Planning. As the YWCA enters into a more virtual platform for host meetings, volunteering, and encouraging engagement, the YWCA felt it would be impactful to have insight from the younger generation. This element provides the Leaders an opportunity to sharpen their skill-sets to develop initiatives to assist youth getting involved with the organization. In addition, Student Leaders also engaged in conversations focused on social justice, civil rights and how to build a more diverse and inclusive society and have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of their personal finances through Better Money Habits®, Bank of America’s financial wellness and education platform. 

Bringing students from across the country together in order to discuss the role of citizenship and how cross sector collaboration creates community impact is a core component of the Student Leaders program.  This year, 300 students gathered virtually for the Young America Together at Home program, delivered by the Close Up Foundation, which included discussion of finding one’s voice in order to effect change and pressing policy issues such as the economy, healthcare, the environment and immigration.

“Now more than ever, as we collectively navigate the challenges we face in our communities, we remain committed to supporting youth and young adults of all backgrounds by connecting them to jobs, skills-building and leadership development,” said David Dowd, Market Manager, Bank of America in Asheville. “Creating opportunities for our youth to gain skills and build a network is a powerful investment in the future of our community.”

In the wake of significant job losses nationwide, the ability to earn a paycheck will be essential to many young people whether they are helping to support their families or planning for the future. As part of their Student Leader experience, each student will receive a $5,000 stipend to recognize them for their community achievements.

Recent estimates suggest that the number of disconnected youth – those who aren’t in school and don’t have a job – has likely tripled since last year and could be as high as 18 million. Without access to opportunities that build career skills, many young people may be left behind, leading to high rates of youth unemployment and hindering overall economic progress. In addition to Student Leaders, the bank invests in summer jobs for young people through its partnership with young adults to gain valuable workforce skills. This summer, Bank of America is connecting approximately 3,000 young adults to summer jobs through partnerships with nonprofits and local mayors and its own Student Leaders® program.
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