Financial Education for Youth

Many credit unions conduct presentations on financial literacy to schools as part of their community outreach efforts. This year, New Mexico Educators FCU stepped up its youth education, designing several programs to help youth of all ages make better financial decisions and gain a sense of financial responsibility.

 
 

Case Study from Callahan Credit Union Member Education Strategies New Mexico Educators FCU

Many credit unions conduct presentations on financial literacy to schools as part of their community outreach efforts. This year, New Mexico Educators FCU stepped up its youth education, designing several programs to help youth of all ages make better financial decisions and gain a sense of financial responsibility.

In explaining the growing need for youth-oriented programs, Sharla Reinhart, membership development director, described some of the changes she had witnessed over time. For many years, the credit union has conducted financial education sessions for the parents of incoming freshmen at the University of New Mexico (one of their SEGs). When Reinhart first began these presentations, only 5% of parents said that incoming freshmen had experience managing a checking account. Now 95% of kids have a checking account by the time they get to college. ''The parents were so excited they asked if there was something available targeted to their kids.''

To effectively meet needs, programs were created that were appropriate to each age range. Classes for children at the elementary and middle school levels address topics such as how to make good buying decisions, questions to ask before making a purchase, and budgeting. For teens, topics include credit reports and how credit is evaluated.

Reinhart stressed the importance of keeping the sessions fun and interactive with lots of games. Also, young people are more receptive to information if you speak to them in their own language, provide examples they can relate to, and use humor. The sessions have been extremely popular.

The sessions have been extremely popular. They are promoted via newsletter, branch signage and statement stuffers. ''We allot 35 kids in each class and we've been turning people away. We've built a reputation for these programs.'' The credit union will continue to refine and improve the programs. According to Reinhart, they are working to develop a more comprehensive youth program that includes educational modules and a tracking process.

For more information on effective strategies, please check out Callahan's recent white paper on member education.

 

 

 

Oct. 20, 2003


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