Shoe box full of financial literacy
More than 50 youth received the first Blue Shoe Box subscription box from Serve Credit Union in January.

Shoe box full of financial literacy

Subscription boxes engage youth, teach them financial lessons.

February 3, 2021

In the early days of Serve Credit Union, much of the business was run out of a shoe box.

So when the $87 million asset credit union in Des Moines, Iowa, launched its newest youth financial literacy effort—the Blue Shoe Box subscription box—earlier this year, it was a natural fit to tie in a shoe box as the credit union celebrates its 90th birthday.

“We were trying to figure out a way to engage with our youth,” says Hayley Vanderpool, member outreach coordinator. “This box became the answer to that and it ties in the history of the shoe box. It came together as the perfect program to kick off this year.”

The credit union sent out its first Blue Shoe Box Subscription Box in January to 54 children. The box included credit union swag, including a t-shirt and branded notebook, a savings box, and financial information.

  Shoe box full of financial literacy

Serve Credit Union created the Blue Shoe Box to engage with youth and teach financial literacy lessons.

Future boxes will be tailored with content geared toward specific age groups as their financial needs and relationship with the credit union grow, Vanderpool says.

The idea was spurred from the 2019 Iowa Credit Union League’s Iowa Innovation Group, a leadership program where credit union professionals come together to create innovative solutions to help Iowans improve their financial lives, Vanderpool says.

Click to enlarge. A handful of boxes went to members who haven't had their first birthday yet.

The subscription box will be sent twice a year, in January and June, and is available to members up to 17 years old. Vanderpool says a handful of recipients haven’t reached their first birthday yet.

Children who signed up to receive the boxes are excited when the Blue Shoe Box arrives in the mail, Vanderpool says, and are eager to begin working toward their $90 savings goal before the next box arrives in June.

“We’re excited to grow with these kids and set them up for a better future with us,” Vanderpool says. “They’re creating a relationship with us.”

She says the program also benefits parents, who lack financial knowledge, made mistakes, or hadn’t formed a good relationship with the credit union before.