INDIANAPOLIS – There’s a school on the east side that’s working to teach teenagers how to be financially responsible. As part of the program, students are receiving cash each week.

And it’s up to them on how they spend it.

Inside Rooted School Indianapolis, 40 students have been selected to receive $50 a week for 40 weeks. That adds up to $2,000, and there’s no strings attached.

“They will be able to spend the money however they’d like to spend it,” said Executive Director and School Leader, Ma’at Lands.

It’s called the Youth Cash Transfer program, and Lands says it’s already become a game-changer.

“Some of the students have opened up accounts,” she explained. “Our mission is to provide students personal pathways to financial freedom.”

In partnership with the University of Pennsylvania, it will study how the teens learn to manage their money. The program is a first-of-its kind partnership.

Javon Members told us, “I save $20 from each paycheck and put it into my savings because I want to save up for a car or education.”

His classmate, Dwayne Sullivan shared, “Most of my friends are saving it quite well. A lot better than I expected.”

Which is the point as school leaders work to close the wealth gap.

“There are some studies out there that says if nothing else changes in the U.S. policy, it’s going to take 228 years for the average African American family to gain the same amount of wealth, as the average white family,” said Lands. “So our goal is to close that wealth gap. This program is starting to close that.”

Members added, “When we think about getting money, it’s just spend, spend, spend. But if we get a chance to actually save it, it’s going to be more helpful in the future.”

Financial literacy is topic at the statehouse this session. Senate bill 35 would ensure students complete financial responsibility courses before they graduate.  At last check, it passed in the full Senate and heads to the House.

Meanwhile, here are the top 3 most important financial lessons for teens, according to Bank of America and Better Money Habits.

First, parents should give teens the chance to pay for things directly, whether that’s with allowance or earnings through jobs. Also, parents can teach your teen how to save and how it can grow over time. Lastly, learn the importance of tracking expenses and staying on a budget.