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Summer camp teaches Memphis teens about finances, stock market to close wealth gap

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A summer camp taking place in Memphis is trying to break barriers and help close the wealth gap in Shelby County.

It’s a three-week boot camp where students learn about the stock market and learn skills to become successful in their future finances.

This week was 15-year-old Imsety Ayetoro’s first time stepping foot on a college campus.

“It feels so amazing," said Ayetoro. "It feels like you know, I’m growing up.”

The teen from Whitehaven is in the Young Wallstreet Traders camp being held at the University of Memphis.

He’s one of 16 young Memphians in the three-week course. They’re learning about financial literacy and investing and trading in regards to the stock market.

“We do focus on kids that are underrepresented in the financial industry and as you know, blacks and minorities are very much underrepresented in the financial industry," said Erika Blair, CEO and founder of Young Wallstreet Traders.

The goal is to give these students the skills to one day have high-income earning careers and make a positive impact on our community.

Shelby County Trustee David Lenoir requested Memphis to be one of three cities where the camp goes. It’s their second year here and the first time all the students’ enrollment fees are covered by scholarships.

“To me, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity," said Ayetoro.

Ayetoro said he stumbled upon stocks online about three months ago and became hooked.

“I like how it’s unpredictable," he said.

Ayetoro said the wealth of knowledge he’s now being exposed to is priceless.

“It’s amazing," he said. "The experience and being able to mingle with other children and to really understand how the stock market works, that’s a dream come true to me.”

Once they wrap up here in Memphis, the camp is then going to be helping kids in the New York and New Jersey area next month.

The students all applied and interviewed to be chosen for the camp.

The Shelby County Trustee's Office, Bank on Memphis, SouthernSun Asset Management and Channing Capital are all camp sponsors.