SEFCU’s Institute for Financial Well-Being engaged in a new partnership with the Heatly School in Green Island. Over the course of three days, the Institute team visited with the second, fourth, fifth, and sixth grade classes delivering financial education to nearly 60 students.
Sixth graders were engaged with iPads® and robots in a budgeting exercise called "Feed Your World." Faced with the challenge to eliminate hunger in their world, students envisioned building a garden or farm and designed a super-powered robot to help – all while staying within their budget. Financial concepts such as creating a budget, discovering the importance of an emergency fund, and identifying the difference between spending, saving, and sharing are reinforced. The youth enthusiastically presented their ideas to the class at the end of the session and the teacher expressed gratitude for the experience, saying students had a lot of fun without even realizing how much they were learning! Together we're building future leaders!"
The younger students each participated in a simulation exercise called "The Money Cycle." Through role-play as business owners, charity owners, and consumer shoppers, the youth learned how money cycles through a community. “The students loved to ‘shop’ and buy new things,” said fourth grade teacher Kristine Livingston. “They learned to budget their money in order to have a balance of wants and needs. While circulating the classroom, students were buzzing with excitement as they set up sales and other creative ways to draw buyers to their businesses. Many of my students asked when they could do this activity again. It was definitely a fun learning experience for my fourth graders!”
The second and fifth grade classes had a special attendee, Derek Torrisi, SEFCU employee and Green Island School District board member. “As someone who’s served as a Board of Education leader for my local school district for the past six years, I understand the growing need for our youth to develop smart money habits and personal finance skills” shared Mr. Torrisi. “When I first heard that SEFCU’s Institute for Financial Well-Being provided free financial education sessions for students of all ages I knew it was the perfect opportunity to fill that need and teach our students something new. I was able to attend their second grade and fifth grade sessions and it was everything I hoped it would be. The students were actively engaged in conversations about wants vs. needs and budgeting, and even acted as ‘customers’ and ‘businesses’ to learn about the economy and the flow of money. The care, skill, and passion that the Institute’s educators provided to our students will leave a lasting impact that money doesn’t have to be this boring scary topic. Money is important, and by developing the right mindset it can help our children be smart consumers and lead happier more successful lives. I can say for sure that SEFCU’s Institute for Financial Well-Being will continue to help youth develop the right mindset about finances and will continue to change lives every day.”
After the sessions, youth indicated a positive change in attitude of 30% regarding their confidence in understanding financial concepts.