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CUs help members prepare for back to school
MADISON, Wis. (8/16/12)--With the start of a new school year just days away, credit unions are helping their members with supplies, budgeting, advice and financial assistance.

Young & Free Michigan spokester Austin Chapman was interviewed on FOX 2 Detroit's Money Monday segment about the importance of finances for students headed to college this fall. Discussing planning, budgeting, and credit management as well as his life as a college student, Chapman shared advice for students and young adults managing their money and living on their own for the first time.

The appearance was part of the larger effort by Michigan First CU, Lathrup Village, Mich., and the Young & Free Michigan program to increase the financial knowledge of local 18-25 year-olds in metro Detroit.

Other credit unions assisting their local schools include:

  • St. Helens Community (Ore.) FCU, which donated nearly $3,400 through its community outreach program, CU 4 A CAUSE to St. Helens Elementary schools. The St. Helens Backpack program provides bags filled with child-friendly, non-perishable food that children take home on weekends during the school year in their backpacks.
  • CO-OP Service CU, Livonia, Mich., which recently completed its fourth annual Backpack Drive. Partnering with Volunteers of America, 96.3 WDVD and Fox 2 Detroit, Co-op Services collected new backpacks, folders, notebooks, pens, scissors, pencils and other supplies at donation boxes in the credit union's eight branches (Michigan Monitor Aug. 13).
  • Educational Community CU, whose staff donated a large load of items to Kids Connections, an organization whose youth-centered goals are to provide life skills and educational programs, build social skills through mentoring/friendship connections and  generate community involvement. Donated items include infant diapers, kids' clothing, books, toys and snacks (Michigan Monitor Aug. 13).
  • A+ Education Foundation, a philanthropic arm of A+ FCU, Austin, Texas. It awarded $67,000 to 74 grant recipients. The funds cover the cost of programs, supplies and training to improve the classroom experience for students in Central Texas. This year's 74 winning submissions included a vocational and life skills program, play materials for school counseling, an outdoor classroom, reading clubs, robotics, a writer's den program, speech therapy, improving the effectiveness of teaching through technology, a social skills enrichment program, linking the school garden to academic achievement, and a motor sensory and therapy lab.
  • Northwest FCU Foundation, Herndon, Va., which recognized the achievements of 26 college students in school, at home and within their communities, with a  combined $115,000 in scholarships. The foundation has two scholarship programs: The Ben DeFelice Scholarship, which presented $5,000 each to 20 students; and the Central Intelligence Retirees Association (CIRA) Scholarship, which awarded $2,500 each to six students.
  • The Suncoast Schools FCU Foundation, Tampa, Fla., which donated $5,000 to Brandon's Emergency Care Help Organization (ECHO). The grant will help fund ECHO's Back to School Program, which provides Brandon-area students with the basic necessities for school. The grant will provide about 250 children with a voucher for a new pair of shoes, socks and underwear and back-to-school items.  Families of the children will also receive food, personal hygiene products and clothing.
  • LBS Financial CU, Long Beach, Calif., which is collecting school supply donations for three local school districts for its second annual Adopt-a-School program. This year, the credit union has adopted Long Beach Unified's Hamilton Middle School and ABC Unified's Tracy High School. LBS Financial CU promoted the drive at area branch offices and on its website during the summer to encourage members and employees to donate. The credit union also matches employee cash donations dollar-for-dollar (Press-Telegram Aug. 7)
  • Coastal Community FCU, Galveston, Texas. At its annual "Back to School Bash,"  it distributed 400 backpacks with free school supplies, provided free vaccines for school-age children, and entertained kids of all ages with music, video games, a moonwalk and fajitas, according to the Texas Credit Union League ( Lone Star Leaguer Aug. 15).


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