Originally posted in The Post Searchlight newspaper
It’s no secret that understanding finances is the key to a life without the burden of heavy debt. With April being National Financial Literacy Month, Five Star Credit Union is highlighting its work with local students by giving them a free education in how to manage their money.
Five Star is working with Banzai, a national award-winning financial curriculum available to 18 schools in two states. Students in Alabama that attend school in the Dothan, Ashford, Columbia, Clayton, Cottonwood, and Eufaula areas, as well as Georgia students in the Bainbridge, Brunswick, Camilla, and Cairo areas have access to the curriculum free of charge.
“Students that get sound financial knowledge early in life have a much better opportunity at success,” said Mike Bridges, vice president of marketing and communications at Five Star. “By partnering with Banzai, Five Star is helping students in our local communities gain that financial knowledge and then taking it a step further by helping them with the first step by opening a savings account.”
“Banzai is a web-based financial literacy program. Kids have their own bank accounts, and they work through assignments that are based on real life,” Morgan Vandagriff, co-founder of Banzai, said. “Because Five Star is sponsoring it, local schools get it for free. More than ever, it’s important that kids develop sound financial skills to prepare them for the real world.”
Banzai is an interactive program supplemented by printed workbooks which align with state requirements for personal finance education. It has become the largest program of its kind, servicing more than 35,000 teachers and available in all 50 states.
Five start offers time, money, industry experience, and a variety of credit union resources to help local schools teach personal finance in the classroom. Students using the program are exposed to real-life scenarios where they learn to pay bills and balance a budget – but it’s not always easy. Students must learn to manage unexpected expenses such as parking tickets, interest charges, and overdraft fees. The educational program also introduces students to auto loans, financial institution statements, entertainment costs, savings, and more.
“Too often students get out of school and they just aren’t ready for the financial roller coasters life can give,” Vandagriff said. “Banzai teaches students to navigate the twists and turns and come out on top. We’re excited to work with Five Star Credit Union to improve financial literacy in local schools.”
Teachers interested in using the Banzai program can visit fivestarcu.teachbanzai.com or 888-8-BANZAI.