Congratulations to Lawrence Jia of Midlothian — winner of the 2017 Virginia Governor’s Volunteerism and Community Service Award for Outstanding Youth Volunteer! When Lawrence Jia saw someone close to him experience a financial crisis and face homelessness, he was moved to make a difference. He had an idea that if you could create a resource to help individuals become better informed consumers, better investors, and wiser savers — you could change the landscape of adolescent financial literacy. In Lawrence’s freshman year, he created “Money Matters to Students” which today has almost 100 volunteers across three continents and has reached over 1,000 Virginia and international students! In the Richmond area alone, the program has helped hundreds of students receive personal finance education, conducting workshops at multiple locations. Lawrence has also taken his program internationally, partnering with Tsinghua University in Inner Mongolia where he has been able to teach personal finance to more than 800 students. The university has even adopted his teaching methods and will be sharing financial literacy skills to more than 18,000 students in 20 rural locations throughout China. As a guest lecturer at Tsinghua University his online lectures about the American banking system and monetary policy have reached more than 1 million students! In the coming year, partnerships with literacy organizations in New York City will allow an additional 200 students to receive financial literacy education in juvenile detention centers, specifically focusing on Brookwood Secure Juvenile Center.
From helping a young boy whose home had been foreclosed find financial footing to assisting a young Chinese girl with the financial knowledge she needed to save her family’s farm – Lawrence is a crusader who is ready and willing to come to the aid of those in crisis. He has developed additional partnerships with the YMCA and Boys and Girls Club and has assembled a board of advisors comprised of CEOs, CFOs, and Executive Directors of Capital One, the Virginia Council on Economic Education, Compass Partners and Venebio. Alongside his passionate work in financial literacy, he serves as the Director of Virginia’s 7th Congressional District for the CPYC, is a nationally-ranked extemporaneous speaker, winner of multiple awards in the Model UN/Congress, founder and editor of the finance/news section of his school newspaper, serves on his school’s Student Council Association, and plays varsity tennis. Lawrence’s compassion, empathy, leadership, and incredible work ethic are exceptional in a young man of his age. He shows that anyone can take a single idea and build something remarkable – motivating and inspiring those around him to follow his ideals and make a real difference in the day to day lives of others.