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Local Teens Bring Awareness to The Importance of Financial Awareness


With so much fear and uncertainty stemming from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there is no question that we have all tried to find some good news and lighthearted stories to grasp onto. From the spotlight stories of frontline heroes, to small businesses who were forced to pivot to keep their dreams alive, each story helped us to see the lighter side of this dark and somewhat scary time. There is something about local stories, though, that provide an added sense of pride and joy when you hear about them. One in particular really connected with us, and that was the story of Alina Zaidi and Angela Wu, two girls with a friendship stemming from elementary school and a common interest in helping others.

Alina and Angela, currently juniors at North Allegheny School District, used all of the time they would have spent participating in clubs and Alina Zaidi, Co-Authoractivities at school to write and publish a book this past summer. Their book, Growing Your Money Tree: An Introduction to Personal Finance, is aimed to educate the younger generation on how to properly manage the money they’re making and prepare adequately for the future. The book outlines the process of “growing your money tree” in a way that connects with a younger audience while also speaking on concepts that relate to those of us with some more financial understanding that would benefit from a refresher. From planting and watering the seed (understanding personal finance basics and managing your income) to eating the fruit (budgeting), they outline the steps to take that will result in proper care and nourishment of your own fruitful money tree.

As if researching, writing and publishing your first book isn’t enough of an endeavor, they decided to create the “Money Not Magic” website to pair with their publication. This community project is aimed to educate youth about various topics in finance through short, online workshops, blogs and activities. All of these resources take “adult topics” like investing and loans to a more basic level that can equip middle school and high school students with the skills they need to take care of their money now and in the future. The resources 

What makes this accomplishment so admirable is the fact that they completed it while managing their high school course load and navigating the ever-changing in-person/virtual school environment as sophomores. As two teenagers with heavy course loads and a plate full of activities, they were used to managing a lot at one time, but a pandemic during their critical high school years? I don’t think anyone has a plan on how to manage that amidst their “normal” day-to-day expectations. With activities cancelled and socialization only applicable over Zoom Calls and Facetime, these girls took all of this “extra time” on their hands to expand their understanding of a topic that they realized was wildly under discussed and “shared the wealth”, if you will. 

When we heard about their accomplishment, we were quick to realize how beneficial their new book would be Angela Wu, Co-Authorto so many people in the community. Additionally, we realized how well it aligned with our Financial Fitness Challenge that we run each year following the holiday season. In partnering with Alina and Angela, we’ve revamped our Financial Fitness Challenge to encompass sections of their book over the course of the six-week, self-paced challenge. As an added bonus, Alina and Angela have offered to provide a FREE PDF version to anyone that signs up and participates in the challenge this year!

If understanding your financial situation is a top priority for you in 2021, SSB Bank’s Financial Fitness Challenge paired with Alina and Angela’s “Growing Your Money Tree: An Introduction to Personal Finance” is a great way to hit the ground running this new year. We couldn’t be more excited for these two young ladies and their already fruitful accomplishments. We look forward to watching the impact of their work within our local community and doing our part to share their work with our customer base as well.

Join the Financial Fitness Challenge for 2021 and receive your free copy of 

"Growing Your Money Tree: An Introduction to Personal Finance"!

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