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Wave Staff Report

Nine-year-old Christian Turner, a fourth grader at Baldwn Hills Elementary School, is one of 10 youth winners of OneUnited Bank’s 11th annual “I Got Bank!” Youth Essay & Art Contest.

Turner, who lives in the city’s Crenshaw Manor neighborhood, won a $1,000 savings account for his essay on learning how to save and manage money, understand loans and buy a home.

He said he will donate part of his winnings to St. Jude Hospital in Los Angeles and another portion to an unidentified homeless shelter for women and children.

His mother, Lauren Turner, said she is pleased her son is already looking toward – and working toward – his future. “I’m especially proud that he is using some of his winnings to help other kids [and that] he’s learning empathy at a young age,” she said.

The “I Got Bank!” youth essay & art contest is part of a larger OneUnited Bank initiative to make financial literacy a core value in the Black community.

  • ••

The American Red Cross Los Angeles Region has announced that Gerald Thomas has been named its new chief operating officer. In addition to serving more than 10 million residents in 88 cities across Los Angeles County, Thomas also will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the staff and volunteers who make up the Red Cross LA workforce.

Thomas is a long-time member of the Red Cross family, initially joining the organization as a volunteer more than a decade ago, after a career in the U.S. Marines.

During his military service, Thomas was an infantry officer leading Marines in two combat theaters.

Cheers! features the everyday accomplishments of everyday people in South Los Angeles. To submit an item, send an email (with picture) to


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