HORNELL — Local students are getting a free education in how to manage their money. Steuben Trust Company is working with Banzai, a national award-winning financial literacy program, to make the curriculum available to 12 schools across Steuben, Allegany, Livingston and Monroe counties for free.
“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. “But because Steuben Trust Company 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. Steuben Trust Company realizes that, and they’re doing something about it.”
Banzai is an interactive, online program supplemented by printed workbooks which aligns with state curriculum requirements for personal finance education. It has become the largest program of its kind, servicing more than 30,000 teachers and available in all 50 states.
“We have provided hands on financial educational programs for many years, partnering with area teachers and presenting content to classrooms,” Jim Knapp, senior vice president of Steuben Trust Company said. “Through these experiences we saw a greater need to provide a comprehensive program that teachers can access at their convenience, while still maintaining our presence in the classroom.”
“Since we launched our partnership with Banzai we have seen an increase in teachers reaching out to our staff for classroom presentation in addition to the Banzai curriculum,” Knapp said. “This multifaceted approach will serve as a great foundation for our area youth in understanding real life financial situations.
Steuben Trust Company has offered time, money, industry experience, and a variety of 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, bank 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 us,” Vandagriff said. “Banzai teaches students to navigate those twists and turns and come out on top. We’re excited to work with Steuben Trust Company to improve financial literacy in local schools.”
Teachers interested in using the Banzai program can visit mysteubentrust.teachbanzai.com or call 888-8-BANZAI.