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Updated: October 21, 2019

B of A teams up with Boys & Girls Clubs to train future leaders

Photos | Contributed Hartford Student Leaders with B of A's Jill Hutensky in front of the U.S. Capitol.
Bank of America CT Student Leaders visit with U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy.
Student Leaders at the Boys & Girls Club.


Bank of America and Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford

Brandon Rothschild keeps a plaque in his bedroom, a keepsake from his time in the Bank of America Student Leaders Program.

“I look at it every morning,” said Rothschild, an instructor at Capital Community College and strategy manager at Jumpstart, a nonprofit foundation. “[The plaque] reminds me of why I do what I do; why it is so important to be a great change to my community.”

Rothschild is one of more than 80 young people in the Hartford area who has graduated over the past 15 years from the Bank of America Student Leaders Program, an effort that brings together a national bank and a nonprofit to develop local talent. Bank of America funds a paid summer internship for high school students at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford in addition to providing financial literacy and job-skills training.

The program culminates in a week-long leadership summit in Washington, D.C., where Hartford young people mingle and network with 300 of their peers from across the country.

“It was great to find other like-minded people who want to make a difference, who are trying to bring change to their communities while you’re also trying to do the same,” Rothschild said of the D.C. trip. He graduated from the Student Leadership Program in 2010 and plans to pursue a doctoral degree, continue his nonprofit work and eventually run for office.

“A lot of the things I learned at the Boys & Girls Club I was able to apply towards my other work experience,” Rothschild said. “When I looked at the children, I saw myself — we came from the same neighborhood. I thought, ‘How can we make sure those children are engaged and excited to come back?’ ”

For Bank of America, training a diverse crop of young leaders is pivotal for the future of its business in the region.

“Workforce development is important in this market and building a pipeline of talent for Hartford-area companies,” said Joe Gianni, Bank of America market president. “This is one step in preparing students.”

For the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford, the program brings in a cadre of talented young people to mentor and motivate the children whom the nonprofit serves, said Samuel S. Gray Jr., president and CEO. The young leaders are motivated in turn to make a positive difference in Hartford, he added.

“When kids work here at the Boys & Girls Club, they really learn about the nonprofit sector and how we impact the community,” Gray said. “It’s so transformational in a young person’s life as far as leadership training and skills necessary in the workplace,” he added.

Bank of America’s role in the program goes beyond funding to provide on-the-ground mentorship and training to the students, Gray said.

“They’re in it a hundredfold in regards to their commitment of time and investment of dollars to see that this program is successful,” he said of the bank. “We’re just fortunate to serve in this capacity to make an impact on the hundreds of young people who have come through the doors with this program.”

Gianni said his bank’s collaboration with the Boys & Girls Club has given him a positive outlook on Hartford.

“I’m totally impressed with the caliber of the students that are coming through,” Gianni said. “So many times we just hear about the challenges that there are in our community. … This gives us an opportunity to look at kids who are really doing some fantastic stuff. It gives you a really great feeling that we’re going to be OK, that there is a bright future out there.

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