SAN FRANCISCO (7/10/08)--The entire city of San Francisco needs to work together to ensure that all youth who earn wages or stipends have an account at a financial institution and financial training. That’s the main recommendation of a survey conducted by Mission SF FCU. Members of the Mission SF Community Financial Center’s Youth Credit Union Program (an affiliate of the credit union), its Action Research Committee (ARC), and its training arm--Youth Trainers for Economic Power (YTEP)--presented their findings and recommendations in a special meeting with city officials and community organizations. The findings and recommendations are a culmination of a four-month study of low-income youth and immigrant parents throughout San Francisco. From October 2007 through February 2008, teens from the Center’s Youth Credit Union Program, ARC and YTEP conducted focus groups and surveys. They found half of the young people surveyed do not have accounts, even though half earn a paycheck. And many use check cashers to cash their paychecks. On the plus side, many of these teens and their parents expressed interest in financial training and college preparation. Adult attendees brainstormed ways to collaborate toward achieving the main recommendation. “I loved how adults were actually listening to youth [at the meeting],” said Diane Tello, a 17-year-old youth researcher. “People came up to us saying, ‘Great job’ or ‘do you want to present to us?’ so I know they liked it,” said 17-year-old Luisa Sicairos. The adults were influenced by what they heard. About 95% reported--after hearing the presentation--that they thought accounts for youth that earn money were more important than before, Mission SF FCU said. The same percentage expressed interest in taking steps with staff and/or a board to determine how their agency or department could do more to support youth in these two areas. Mission SF FCU sponsors the youth program. YTEP is partially funded by a grant from the Richard Myles Johnson Foundation--the foundation for California and Nevada credit unions. Other supporters include San Francisco-based Patelco CU, and the National Credit Union Foundation.