For years, Angela McKenzie has volunteered with Junior Achievement to provide financial education to inner-city high school students. At a recent education event at Birmingham’s Jackson-Olin High School, Angela said her students remind her of her younger self.

“I can see myself in them – full of ambition and hope – but not really sure how to make the dream of a college education a reality,” McKenzie said. “A family friend took the time to talk to me about financial aid and scholarship opportunities. I pursued those options and was awarded a full scholarship to Alabama State University. The Junior Achievement curriculum gives me an opportunity to start that conversation with students.”

McKenzie is the February 2015 Better Life Award winner. Regions is donating $1,000 to Junior Achievement of Alabama in her honor.

In addition to her work with Junior Achievement, McKenzie teaches prospective students how to navigate the college admissions process, supports scholarship workshops, and recruits fellow alumni to invest in her alma mater’s future. Last year, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley chose McKenzie to serve as a trustee for Alabama State University.

McKenzie returns every weekend to her hometown of Sylacauga, Alabama, to donate her time and talents to the community that gave her a great start in life. She leads neighborhood service projects with her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, and is finance chair of her childhood church, St. Thomas United Methodist.