Bank of America Connects Atlanta-Area Youth to Workforce Success through Paid Virtual Summer Leadership Experience

Bank of America today announced that the five Atlanta high school juniors and seniors selected as Student Leaders (#BofAStudentLeaders) have started their paid summer internship experience of leadership, civic engagement, and workforce skills-building.  In light of the health concerns that remain in local communities, the program has been adapted to a virtual format, through which students will have the opportunity to participate in sessions that will expose them to the vital role that nonprofits play in advancing community health, the importance of public private partnerships to advance social change, and a focus on building financial acumen.

The Class of 2020 Atlanta-based Bank of America Student Leaders are:

  • Gloria Ampadu-Darko, Norcross, Norcross High School
  • Alaira Blackwell, Atlanta, Booker T. Washington High School
  • Joshua Garrison, Lawrenceville, Gwinnett School of Mathematics Science & Technology
  • Maria Nino-Suastegui, Atlanta, North Atlanta High School
  • Eduardo Santos, Fayetteville, Whitewater High School

Atlanta Student Leaders will participate in programming that leverages Bank of America’s national partnerships and expertise and will work closely with the bank’s Atlanta leadership and nonprofit partners. They will participate in a collaborative, mentoring-focused project working closely with East Lake Foundation to inform the community about the importance of voting. In addition, Student Leaders will engage in conversations focused on social justice, civil rights and how to build a more diverse and inclusive society and have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of their personal finances through Better Money Habits®, Bank of America’s financial wellness and education platform.

Since 2013, more than 25 Atlanta Student Leaders have interned with the East Lake Foundation, an organization that works to enable residents in Atlanta’s East Lake neighborhood and families at Charles R. Drew Charter School to build a better future for themselves through its holistic model for community revitalization that includes mixed-income housing, high-quality education and community wellness. Today, East Lake is a safe and vibrant place to live. This summer, the Student Leaders will work with East Lake on a digital project that will be shared with the community about the importance of voting, voter registration, campaigning, rights and advocacy.

Bank of America has been a philanthropic partner of the East Lake Foundation since its inception. In all, Bank of America has provided more than $905,000 in grants to the East Lake Foundation since becoming the first corporate partner (formerly NationsBank) of the East Lake community to help revitalize the neighborhood 25 years ago.

Bringing students from across the country together to discuss the role of citizenship and how cross-sector collaboration creates community impact is a core component of the Student Leaders program. This year, 300 students are gathering virtually for the Young America Together at Home program, delivered by the Close Up Foundation, which will include discussion of finding one’s voice in order to effect change and pressing policy issues such as the economy, healthcare, the environment and immigration.

“Now more than ever, as we collectively navigate the challenges we face in our communities, we remain committed to supporting youth and young adults of all backgrounds by connecting them to jobs, skills-building and leadership development,” said Wendy Stewart, Atlanta market president for Bank of America. “Creating opportunities for our youth to gain skills and build a network is a powerful investment in the future of our community.”

The ability to earn a paycheck will be essential to many young people, whether they are helping to support their families or planning for the future. As part of their Student Leader experience, each student receives a $5,000 stipend to recognize them for their community achievements.

Recent estimates suggest that the number of disconnected youth – those who aren’t in school and don’t have a job – has likely tripled since last year and could be as high as 18 million. Without access to opportunities that build career skills, many young people may be left behind, leading to high rates of youth unemployment and hindering overall economic progress. This summer, Bank of America is connecting approximately 3,000 young adults to summer jobs through partnerships with nonprofits and local mayors and its own Student Leaders® nationwide program.

Bank of America
At Bank of America, we’re guided by a common purpose to help make financial lives better, through the power of every connection. We’re delivering on this through responsible growth with a focus on our environmental, social and governance (ESG) leadership. ESG is embedded across our eight lines of business and reflects how we help fuel the global economy, build trust and credibility, and represent a company that people want to work for, invest in and do business with. It’s demonstrated in the inclusive and supportive workplace we create for our employees, the responsible products and services we offer our clients, and the impact we make around the world in helping local economies thrive. An important part of this work is forming strong partnerships with nonprofits and advocacy groups, such as community, consumer and environmental organizations, to bring together our collective networks and expertise to achieve greater impact. Learn more at, and connect with us on Twitter (@BofA_News).

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Beverly Rhodes


Matthew Daily, Bank of America