REDW Re-Launches Financial Literacy Program for Native American Youth

REDW Re-Launches Financial Literacy Program for Native American Youth

September 30, 2022


September 30, 2022  REDW LLC, recognized among INSIDE Public Accounting’s Top 200 Accounting Firms, is announcing today the re-launch of its Financial Literacy Program for Native American youth in partnership with Junior Achievement of New Mexico (JA NM) and Native American Community Academy (NACA), a tuition-free public charter school that serves students from more than 60 different tribes across the state. Initiated in 2016, the Financial Literacy Program for Native American Youth is focused on providing students from Tribal Communities with fundamental skills and critical knowledge as they relate to earning, employment and income, budgeting, savings, credit and debt, and consumer protection.

NACA Director James Montoya, REDW team members Dean Willingham, Michael Mora, Ian Lewis, Roman Sandoval, Jacob Montoya, Jude Gleason, and Stephen Montoya, and Junior Achievement Program Coordinator Jordana Thompson at CNM’s Education Collaborative building, home of the Native American Community Academy, on September 9, 2022.

“Before the COVID-19 pandemic paused our in-person efforts, more than 270 students across New Mexico completed financial literacy programs with Junior Achievement and REDW,” says Michael Mora, an Accounting Specialist Manager with REDW, enrolled member of the Navajo Nation and NACA Governing Council member. “Today, we celebrated the completion of another successful program by over 30 new students.”

According to Mora, the long-term goals of the program are to improve Native American secondary and post-secondary graduation rates, encourage Native American students to pursue business and professional careers, and increase the number of Native American students pursuing accounting, finance, or business degrees at major universities in the Southwest region.

To complete the program, each student underwent a series of in-person learning sessions with REDW volunteers throughout September 2022 at NACA, located at 940 University Blvd SE in Albuquerque. These sessions focused on:

  • Learning about what it takes to be successful beyond the classroom;
  • Understanding the importance of education to their future success;
  • Building skills in teamwork, decision-making and interpersonal effectiveness;
  • Learning about post-secondary education and career opportunities; and
  • Connecting what students learn in the program to their families and communities.

“The commitment from REDW to strengthen our students’ financial knowledge using real-world scenarios and situations will directly impact the rest of their lives, helping develop them into dynamic leaders with an understanding of how money, credit and budgeting work as well as the protections they need in place to ensure a secure, healthy financial future,” says James Montoya, MPA, NACA College Engagement Director. “This program has also exposed our students to the careers in the financial field and provides a roadmap for those who wish to go down that path.”

Wesley Benally“As an independent firm we have proudly served Tribal Communities across the United States for more than 30 years and are in pursuit to employ more Native American professionals in public accounting than any other accounting firm in the country,” says Wesley Ryan Benally, CPA, REDW Principal and National Tribal Practice Leader. “The re-launch of this empowering program continues to strengthen our long-term commitment to Indian Country and Tribal Members of all ages.”

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