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Credit unions celebrate youth week financial literacy
MADISON, Wis. (4/26/12)--This week is National Credit Union Youth Week, sponsored by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). Credit unions nationwide are focusing providing financial literacy education for young members.

Shamzy Romero, business development officer for Security Service FCU, San Antonio, and Richard Maki, vice principal of the Academy of Finance at Business Careers High School, congratulate Jasmine Ancira for her winning essay on financial literacy. Ancira won $500 and her name added to the academy's "Wall of Honor" through a program developed by SSFCU that encourages students to go through a financial reality check, then write about their plans to be financially stable adults. Ancira is a graduating senior who plans to pursue a career in the financial industry. (Photo provided by Security Service FCU)
National Credit Union Youth Week was created by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) in 2001 as an opportunity for credit unions nationwide to focus on the financial needs of young people and provide financial literacy education.  The event focuses on teaching the benefits of saving and goal setting and invites youth to open savings accounts at their credit union and make deposits throughout the year

This year's theme for National Credit Union Youth Week is "Be a Credit Union Super Saver."

National Youth Saving Challenge, also sponsored by CUNA, is also held during the entire month of April. Last year nearly 146,000 young members deposited $28.5 million into their saving accounts during National Youth Saving Week--with 9,058 new accounts.

National Credit Union Youth Week and the National Youth Saving Challenge take place during April, which is National Financial Literacy Month.

There are several ways credit unions are celebrating financial literacy and National Credit Union Youth Week:

FORUM CU, Fishers, Ind. will be celebrating National Credit Union Youth Week at all FORUM branch locations this week.  Events include kids' activities, giveaways, prizes, and three enter to win contests with prizes including an Amazon gift card, iPod Shuffle, and iPod Nano.  FORUM will deposit $5 into any Aware Kids, Aware Teens or Sprout Account that is opened.  FORUM will also deposit $10 into any free Student Checking Account that is opened, which is available for 16 to 24 year olds. Along with accounts for young people, FORUM also provides interactive financial sites as resources.  These sites feature games, activities, blogs, and useful links relating to money.

Maine credit unions' theme for youth this week is "Super Powers of Savings," reflecting the national theme.

Maine's credit unions will be holding events throughout the week including hosting open houses, contests and other activities for younger members. Many credit unions have also partnered with their local school systems to bring financial education to the students, from holding special financial education sessions to running one of Maine's five in-school branches. 

Jon Paradise, Maine Credit Union League governmental & public affairs manager, said  the week is an opportunity to highlight all that credit unions do for financial education in Maine. "The many activities and events offered by credit unions during this time provide the perfect opportunity for parents to engage their children in an active dialogue about personal finance because parental involvement is critical to helping children become fiscally responsible adults," Paradise said. 

Recent proclamations from the governor and the legislature have recognized the "significant leadership role of Maine's credit unions in furthering financial education learning among Maine's youth."  

As part of the youth week celebration, all 18 branches of Grow Financial CU, Tampa, Fla., will be distributing lollipops, activity books and piggy banks to the children of parents who open a new youth savings account or make a deposit to an existing youth savings account.

At Service CU, kids who make a deposit in their  Smart Savers accounts this week will enter the CUNA Savings Challenge. Service CU will also draw one name from the entries to win a $200 gift card. Free gifts are available to all young members visiting a branch. Service CU offers financial education specifically tailored to its three Smart Saver clubs. The three clubs all include a youth savings account and ATM card.

Six credit unions from The Erie Area Credit Union Partnership participated in the recent Annual Kids Expo in Erie, Pa. Hundreds of children attended event, which include music, games, clowns and prizes. At the credit union booth, children received glow-in-the-dark pencils, activity books, and a chance to have their photo taken as a Credit Union Super Saver Hero.

The six credit unions that participated in the Kids Expo included:

  • Erie (Pa.)Flagship Community FCU;
  • Erie (Pa.) Times FCU;
  • Lake Erie Community FCU, Girard, Pa;
  • Loco. & Cont. Empl. FCU, Erie;
  • Saint Vincent Erie (Pa.) FCU; and
  • North East (Pa.) Welch FCU.
The Erie Area Credit Union Partnership is a collaboration of 12 credit unions located in Erie and the surrounding area.

Youth Club members at Belco Community CU, Dauphin, Pa., will receive special prizes for all branch deposits, special prizes, contests and refreshments when they visit one of Belco's 12 local branches during April. With every deposit of $10 or more into their youth club account, they will be entered to win an Apple iPad2. By saving their money at Belco, children will be helping Belco meet its goals in the National Youth Week Savings Challenge. If the goals are met, Belco will donate $1,000 to the Ronald McDonald House in Hershey, Pa.

Wichita (Kan.) FCU is celebrating youth the entire month of April with promotional activities and contests in its lobbies and on its website and Facebook page. The credit union will match up to $12.50 for children that open up Kids or Teen accounts. Also, every time a teen between the ages of 13 and 18 makes a deposit of at least $10 into their savings account during the month, they will automatically be entered into a drawing. Wichita FCU is also holding a coloring contest for children 12 and under. Kids that bring in a "Credit Union Super Saver" colored page to a location during the month of April to receive a free piggy bank and a chance to win a $25 Toys "R" Us gift card.

ESL FCU, Rochester, N.Y., is holding a workshop on basic personal finance issues. The workshop will cover how to manage money day-to-day, investing and planning for retirement, and setting and reaching financial goals.

California Coast CU, San Diego, has developed a series of new consumer-focused workshops. The financial workshops also offer an opportunity to educate individuals about credit unions and the not-for-profit financial services they offer. California Coast CU works closely with area high schools and colleges in conducting financial literacy presentations. In addition to the financial workshops, the credit union also offers Financial Fitness, a free service designed to help members maximize their paycheck and create a spending plan that they can live with.

At Catholic Vantage Financial CU, Livonia, Mich., kids who make deposits during April will receive a prize and have the opportunity to enter coloring contest or do a puzzle.  During National Credit Union Youth Week at Catholic Vantage Financial, kids who make a deposit will be entered in a drawing to win a larger prize at the end of the week. The credit union is also offering financial literacy reading program. The readings engage students in discussion and allow them to discover new information on finances.

Hughes FCU, Tucson, Ariz., co-hosted the Arizona Financial Face Off, in which students from 14 local schools tested their knowledge of financial issues.

Security Service FCU, San Antonio, held a financial literacy essay contest. Contest winner Jasmine Ancira received $500 and her name was added to the academy's "Wall of Honor." The contest encouraged students to go through a financial reality check, then write about their plans to be financially stable adults.

Michigan First CU was featured on the National Public Radio station WDET 101.9 FM discussing the credit union's 27 student-run branches and extensive financial education programs.

Torrance (Calif.) Community CU offers Indie Money a program of financial services and education designed to teach financial responsibility and to help teens between the ages of 16 and 17 establish credit in a monitored, conscientious way with real-world credit and debit products. To ensure teens are armed with the knowledge and skills necessary to manage their new accounts, they must first pass the Indie Money Challenge and attend orientation with a TCCU staff member.


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