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Three programs highlight member savings
MADISON, Wis. (4/7/11)--Credit unions from Hawaii to New York are helping their members change their lives through the power of saving.
Click to view larger image Amazing Savers is a savings challenge developed by Redwood CU, Santa Rosa, Calif. Participating families will compete to win $10,000 by working to improve their financial lives.
In Hawaii, the Kids Savings Project is the brainchild of Dr. Michael Cheang, assistant professor at University of Hawaii-Manoa Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, who was concerned about the need for children to start the savings habit early in life. Cheang secured grants from the Hawaii Community Foundation and partnered with the University of Hawaii FCU to begin the pilot project in 2008. Today, the project works through nine credit unions in Hawaii and 18 schools to teach mostly low-income kids the power of saving. Since its inception, more than 1,100 students saved over $115,000 through the Kids Savings Project. In the program, children set their own savings goals. Credit unions give each saver a piggy bank and other items to make the saving fun. Credit union staffs visit their partner schools regularly for deposit days--some make the experience fun with banners, recognition, and prizes. The project shows that giving children the tools and resources they need to start a savings habit is life changing and dispels the myth that low-income children cannot save money, said a press release from Cheang and the Hawaii Credit Union League. A second program, from Redwood CU , Santa Rosa, Calif., is a savings challenge designed to transform the lives of entire families. Redwood CU recently selected local families as five contestants for its Amazing Savers contest. The five teams will compete to win $10,000 by transforming their finances in 2011. The contestants are:
* Blue Team: Angela and Tom Campbell from Sebastopol, local business owners working to provide for their teenage sons’ educations, support their live-in mother and save for a stable retirement; * Green Team: Cecilia and Juan Flores and their young son from Santa Rosa, seeking to create a livable budget and save money to create a sound future; * Red Team: Priscilla and Dawid Jaworski from Santa Rosa, a young couple with a toddler seeking ways to save and invest to take care of their growing family; * Purple Team: Jennifer Lynch from Corte Madera, a teacher who struggled with job loss, but is looking for ways to budget wisely and build savings now that she has found full-time employment; and * Orange Team: Sharon Van Patten from Ukiah, a single mother raising three daughters while she worked to earn her degree, and who wants to model good money management for her children.
Each Amazing Savers team will meet regularly with an RCU financial coach who will help them create budgets, reduce debt, and transform their finances so that they can save more and improve their financial future. Followers of the contest can cast their vote online for the team they believe has made the most progress. At the end of the year, the team with the greatest overall improvement to their finances will win $10,000 toward the family’s financial goals. A third example of credit unions helping members save is Ticonderoga (N.Y.) FCU, which is celebrating Youth Savings Month in April by offering any TFCU member under the age of 18 the chance to win one of three $50 U.S. Savings Bonds and $100. Children and parents also can visit credit union branches or the Ticonderoga FCU website to obtain financial education materials. The Credit Union National Association is sponsoring the National Savings Challenge this month and National Credit Union Youth Week, April 17-23. For more information, use the link.
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