Megan Bagola Finds More Than Tuition as She Saves for a College Education
Reflecting on her participation in the Four Bands Youth Entrepreneur Internship Program during her Senior year, Megan Bagola says, “If I had not done the internship I wouldn’t be as lucky as I am right now. I am really grateful for all the experience I gained. It changed my perception of myself. I didn’t think I would get scholarships, but I did.”
As a 2011 participant in our Youth Entrepreneur Internship Program, Megan Bagola was able to save $1,000 for her college tuition. Megan worked 100 hours as an office assistant at Cheyenne Eagle Butte High School, the high school she attended and graduated from, and was paid $10/hour. She deposited half of her earnings into a specialized savings account, called an Individual Development Acco
unt (IDA), where she received a $1 match from Four Bands for every dollar she deposited. Also as part of the Youth Entrepreneur Internship Program, Megan completed personal finance training, customer service training, and post-secondary education training.
“I learned how to set goals and plan to make them achievable – like breaking your dollar goal into smaller savings deposits to make it manageable to save.”
Megan’s success in the internship program fueled her desire to keep saving for her college education through our Mazaska K’sapa Nitawa (Your Money Wisdom) Matched Savings Program, a program designed to help people achieve an asset base by developing a pattern of saving money. Through her participation in this program, Megan deposited $1,200 into her IDA, received $3,600 in match dollars from us, and was able to use a total of $4,800 for college expenses.
Megan also built on her knowledge of managing and saving money. She says, “I learned how to set goals and plan to make them achievable – like breaking your dollar goal into smaller savings deposits to make it manageable to save.” Maybe more importantly, Megan took away life skills that will continue to support her success through college and beyond. “The most important thing I learned while saving is responsibility – being responsible enough to actually save my money, even though saving was really hard, especially with family that also needs your help.”
Megan’s hard work and determination paid off. Her experiences gave her the confidence and resources necessary to go after her dream of attending college. Megan is currently a Sophomore at Dakota State University in Madison, South Dakota where she is working on her degree in Biology. Her advice to others: “Even though it is hard to save money, it is very beneficial in the long run. You will get what you need.”
She also adds, “I feel like I can go back to Four Bands anytime and get help from the staff if I need it.” Who knows? We may be writing another story on Megan in a few years as a successful entrepreneur who started up a laboratory here on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation.