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Kid's CU Tracks Students' Fin Ed Progress Through School Years
Southern Chautauqua FCU President/CEO John Felton talks to students at a local school about the Kid's Credit Union program and how they can graduate high school with $10,000 by meeting yearly savings goals. Candy White, Kid's Credit Union coordinator,  is standing behind a table, with $10,000 in cash on display.
LAKEWOOD, N.Y. (2/21/13)--Southern Chautauqua FCU in Lakewood, N.Y., has expanded its "Kid's Credit Union" financial education program by more than 200% in area schools last year.

The National Credit Union Foundation provided the $59 million asset credit union a grant to cover the cost of materials for the program. 

"The vision of the credit union is to strengthen students' financial position so they will have a positive impact in the workforce after high school and become the community's bright future," said John Felton, Southern Chautauqua president/CEO. "The best way to affect the future is to teach a child the value of saving money and rewarding them for their efforts."

The program begins by providing financial education to second graders in Southern Chautauqua FCU's community and follows participants through to their graduation in high school. They have yearly goals, with the end-goal to graduate with a balance in their accounts of more than $10,000.

"Educating youth on the importance of saving and being financially savvy is critical," said Lois Kitsch, NCUF national program director. "Southern Chautauqua FCU's Kid's Credit Union program is a great mix of financial education with an attractive savings product."

Click to view larger image A billboard advertises Southern Chautauqua FCUs' Kids Credit Union program around New York. (Photos provided by the National Credit Union Foundation)
Kid's Credit Union is a 10-year project, educating students about Southern Chautauqua FCU's  "Save First" philosophy. Kid's Credit Union was established in 2005 at two elementary schools. Today, the credit union works with six area elementary schools in low-income-designated areas.

Southern Chautauqua uses its own financial education curriculum in the schools, and employees teach the lessons. It also donates piggy banks to get students started saving.

One major difference in the program is in the structuring of students' accounts as certificates. Participants receive a schedule so they see how their money will grow through the 10-year process.  As the end of the school year nears, students receive reminders about the amount in their account and the amount needed to achieve their goal for that year.

Southern Chautauqua FCU is set to expand to another area school soon.
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