What Exactly Is BOOF? St. Louis Children Find Out

October 01, 2003

Operation Hope received an enthusiastic welcome to St. Louis on June 18 during a kick-off event attended by more than 50 people at the Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls Club.

  Children from the Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls Club gather around St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President Bill Poole during a recent Banking on Our Future event. The program teaches youngsters about financial responsibility.

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President Bill Poole and Operation Hope Chairman John Bryant spoke to an excited group of fifth-grade members of the Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls Club. The two introduced the Banking on Our Future (BOOF) program, which was developed by Operation Hope. This was the first time the nonprofit organization has partnered with a local affiliate of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

"You must vow never, ever, ever to be poor again," Bryant told the children. "Being broke is temporary, but being poor is a depression of your heart and spirit."

BOOF uses a network of volunteer bankers to teach the children four core modules: the basics of banking, how to open and maintain a checking and savings account, the importance of credit and the power of investments. After the kick-off event, staff members from the Reserve Bank's Community Affairs Office led the BOOF group for five more weeks. On the sixth week, club members took a tour of the Reserve Bank, seeing firsthand the security, cash and check areas of the bank.

Operation HOPE was founded 10 years ago in Los Angeles. The organization's mission is to bring economic self-sufficiency to America's inner-city communities.

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and several Reserve bank presidents are participating in the Operation Hope programs across the country. This past spring, the Federal Reserve began its own personal financial education campaign, called "There's a Lot to Learn About Money." To find out more, go to: www.federalreserveeducation.org.

Bridges is a regular review of regional community and economic development issues. Views expressed are not necessarily those of the St. Louis Fed or Federal Reserve System.

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