Friday, April 3, 2009

Financial Literacy Month focuses on youth

MADISON, Wis. (4/3/09)--Financial Literacy Month kicked off this week in a number of states, with gubernatorial proclamations, fitness fairs and educational workshops for youth, television shows to educate the public, and plans for motivating young members to save.

Leagues reported that Maine Gov. John Baldacci, Washington state Gov. Chris Gregoire, and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell made special proclamations, observing the month as Financial Literacy for Youth Month, Financial Literacy Month or Financial Education Month, respectively.

In Maine, the Norm Nolette Chapter of Credit Unions, with support from the Jeannette G. Morin Chapter of Credit Unions, held the Sixth Annual Financial Fitness Money Management Experience at Central Main Community College Wednesday. It was the 22nd fair in Maine since credit unions founded the event in 2004. Nearly 140 students from nine area high schools attended the half-day event, during which students checked in and received a scenario packet of their life at age 22.

Jon Paradise, governmental and public affairs manager of the Maine Credit Union League and this year's master of ceremonies, noted, "With the troubled economy on the minds of many, there couldn't be a better time to educate students on the importance of being financially fit."

Maine's credit unions will conduct two more Financial Fitness Fairs during the month.

Pennsylvania Newsmakers, a television show hosted by Dr. Terry Madonna, featured Steven Kaplan, the state's secretary of banking, and Mike Wishnow, Pennsylvania Credit Union Association senior vice president of communications and marketing, discussing Financial Literacy Month (Life is a Highway April 2).

Kaplan said there is a need to make financial education a lifelong learning process, beginning in kindergarten and continuing through adulthood. The program can be seen April 5-11 on television stations throughout the state.

In Washington state, the Department of Financial Institutions is promoting financial education. Boeing Employees CU (BECU) is involved, offering a contest for elementary school students. During the month, students send in their best savings tip and are entered into a drawing. Fifteen winners will attend a BECU Savings Clinic at a Seattle Mariners' game.

AmeriCU CU, based in Rome, N.Y., is expanding the Credit Union National Association's National Credit Union Youth Week (April 19-25) to a month-long celebration. It will use the Youth Week theme, "Magic of Saving," to encourage youth to save and manage their own money. The credit union will have magicians at select branches, and will offer prizes, literacy workshops, games and more to engage youth ages 5 to 18.

Wright-Patt CU, Fairborn, Ohio, will conduct a community book drive to benefit literacy programs and schools near its 22 member centers. "Many organizations in the Miami Valley are facing a shortage of necessary supplies in these difficult economic times," said Jeff Carpenter, vice president of membership and development. "What better way to celebrate National Credit Union Youth Month than to invite our young members to help others in their own communities?" Wright-Patt will join others across the country in the National Credit Union Youth Saving Challenge.

Others promoting the National Saving Challenge to encourage youth about financial matters and including special activities such as workshops and magicians include New Mexico Educators FCU, Albuquerque; DuPont Fibers FCU, Chesterfield, Va.; and Frontier Community CU, Leavenworth, Kan.

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