CUs Champion Youth Financial Education

Be inspired by this year's Desjardins Award winners.

March 3, 2011

Creativity and determination can produce dramatic results, especially in the realm of youth financial education.

Prime examples of this appear in the Welcome Center, where attendees can view top entries from the 2010 Desjardins Award program, which recognizes credit union leadership on behalf of youth financial literacy. It’s sponsored by CUNA’s business to consumer publishing department.

The 2010 award program received a record 58 state-winning entries from 30 states. Judges selected the best dozen as worthy of standing as models for credit union youth financial education efforts nationwide.
These efforts are the judges’ favorites:

Credit Union 1, Anchorage, Alaska, for its school-business partnership that teaches students responsible money management and saving techniques for future goals. This program succeeds because it engages all important stakeholders: youth, parents, school officials, and teachers.

DOCO Regional Federal Credit Union, Albany, Ga. Despite having a limited staff and budget, this credit union implemented a custom financial literacy program that affects more than 2,100 students. It designed the program as a reusable resource that has the potential to reach more than 67,000 young people within its field of membership.

• Mission SF Federal Credit Union, San Francisco, gets high marks for motivating children of low-income families to amass an average $400 each in personal savings. The credit union’s innovative Prize-Linked Account for Youth (PLAY) has led to media coverage, boosting awareness of youth financial literacy.

You don’t have to tackle youth financial education alone: CUNA’s Personal Finance Initiative offers resources for youth, adults, and underserved communities, says Phil Heckman, CUNA’s director of youth programs.

This online financial literacy resource gives credit union leaders a place to share best practices, review research, and discuss financial education. Also available are financial education tools from CUNA and its partners and PF Interactive, a private network site credit union leaders can use to share ideas.