Lansing community organizer empowers Black youth with financial literacy

Published: May. 26, 2023 at 7:49 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Shanell Henry, founder of One Love Global, is on a mission to empower Black youth mentally, academically and financially.

Recognizing the pressing need for financial wellness in the Black community, Henry has taken up the mantle of teaching financial literacy to young individuals in Lansing.

According to the National Urban League, the financial well-being of the Black community in the United States is far behind other demographic groups.

Children participated in an open mic night event Friday at Sweet Encounter Bakery in Lansing.

“They are encouraging other youth to use their gifts,” Henry said. “So when you give an opportunity for a young person to get on the mic and share their gifts, they begin to thrive. They begin to get more comfortable in who they are.”

When she’s not actively supporting open mic nights, Henry dedicates her time to working closely with Black-owned businesses in Lansing, imparting valuable lessons in financial literacy to the city’s youth. She firmly believes that it is never too early to initiate these important teachings.

“As we encounter business owners, they talk about the importance of saving money, investing in their businesses, and understanding the concept of overhead,” Henry said.

She said the list goes on. According to the National Urban League, only 17 states have integrated financial education into their school curricula. Last year, Michigan was added to the list.

“We’ve had individuals come in and share the importance of financial literacy,” Henry said. “We’ve recently worked with flashcards, which educate them on obtaining loans, the significance of timely loan repayment, and the intricacies of interest rates.”

It’s information, Henry emphasizes, was not always accessible to Black ancestors.

“It’s very important that we are able to show our youth that now they have the capacity to thrive in any area,” Henry said. “We’re free. Thank God that we’re free.”

In addition to her work with financial literacy, she also collaborates with the Peace and Prosperity Youth Action Movement to teach entrepreneurship, college preparation, and promote healthy lifestyles.

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