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Motivating Middle-School 'Market Makers'

ExpandED Schools


Sarah Levitt, Market Makers Volunteer

Sarah Levitt
Market Makers Volunteer

This past year, ExpandED Schools launched its Market Makers Initiative at six of our partner schools. Market Makers is a pilot program that seeks to teach middle school students financial literacy and entrepreneurship. Students participating in the program started their own businesses while learning lessons about budgeting, loans and marketing along the way. At the end of the year, students sold their products at a citywide marketplace. 

In addition to receiving training and resources necessary to implement the Market Makers framework, each site was partnered with a volunteer from the business community. Volunteers periodically visited their partner program to provide instructional support, advice on business decisions and motivation for the marketplace. Volunteers also hosted a field trip to their office so students could experience what life might be like for them if they pursue business careers in the future. 

Sarah Levitt, Vice President and Counsel at Deutsche Bank (and sister of our own Daniel Levitt, Financial Literacy Project Manager), volunteered at East Flatbush Community Research School. There, she worked with community educators from University Settlement to support students as they started their custom-designed phone case company, I-See-You. Here’s what Sarah had to say about her experience as a Market Makers volunteer.



ExpandED Schools Market MakersExpandED Schools: How did you first hear of the Market Makers initiative and what interested you in volunteering?

Sarah Levitt: I first heard of the Market Makers initiative from Daniel. I really enjoy volunteering in general, and I thought I could provide a unique insight, given that I work in finance.  

ES: How did you first volunteer visit to the school differ from your expectations? 

SL: I was definitely more intimidated than I initially thought I would be. I give presentations at my job often, and I attend and speak in meetings every day. However, it took me a few minutes (and encouragement from Daniel and Ms. Yvonne, community educator and Market Makers club leader at EFCRS) to speak up and interact more freely with the class.

ES: Looking back, what was the biggest highlight of your work with the students?

SL: The highlight was when the students visited Deutsche Bank. It was great to see how excited the students were to visit the trading floor, and I think they really enjoyed meeting people who work at Deutsche Bank, especially the stories as to how people came from different backgrounds and ended up working in finance.ExpandED Schools Market Makers

What would you say to those in the business community who are considering volunteering with Market Makers in the future?

SL: This is a great opportunity to get to know a motivated group of students and to make a difference in your community. I loved working with the students!


ESWe know your work keeps you very busy. Why was it important to you to make time to volunteer? 

SL: I think it’s important to recognize one’s privilege in the world and to give back to one’s community. As a person who has benefitted from mentors and role models throughout my life, I think it’s my obligation to do the same for others, especially if I have unique skills that will help a specific program. Additionally, as an LGBTQ woman, I think it’s important to show young people, who are still trying to decide what they would like to do in the future, that there are representations of all different kinds of people in finance, and you don’t have to be intimidated.

If you are interested in volunteering as Market Makers business coach, contact Erin Phillips at volunteer@expandedschools.org.


ExpandED Schools Market Makers


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