One of the things that credit unions do best is proving financial education to their members and community through initiatives and programs. It’s in the DNA of credit unions – literally, in the Operating Principles – and what help to differentiate them from other financial institutions.
While we in the industry know how important it is for kids to receive lessons in personal finance, many aren’t receiving the knowledge and tools they need to become successful adults. The teaching of money basics in schools isn’t currently a nationwide effort, something a growing number of recent graduates wishes would have been the case.
Only 16.4 percent of U.S. high school students are required to take a personal finance course, leaving a huge gap in the number of high schoolers in America who are not receiving the valuable, real-life financial education that they need after graduation.
Enter Biz Kid$. Biz Kid$ is a national financial education initiative that engages young people to help them develop life skills in the areas of financial education and entrepreneurship. The initiative includes an Emmy award-winning television series, free classroom curriculum, outreach activities, and a website targeting kids 9 – 16 years old. It is the first national public television series promoting financial education for elementary through high school students and was created by the same team that produced “Bill Nye the Science Guy”.
Biz Kid$ does what no other program does and that is to empower young adults to think differently about their financial futures – that it’s not just about money it’s their life. A big part of that is encouraging young adults to become entrepreneurs by introducing them to other “Biz Kid$” who have built their own successful businesses!
The Foundation is the national champion of the Biz Kid$ program, which is 100% funded by America’s credit unions. Biz Kid$ brings the credibility of credit unions efforts around financial education to the next level, and the Foundation has worked hard to help credit union organizations leverage this great program.
One of the ways we do so is through Biz Kid$ grants which allow credit union organizations to utilize the program in innovative ways. One initiative that has really taken off is Entrepreneurship contests. Spearheaded by the Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation, these competitions use Biz Kid$ to teach students about creating their own business, and allow them to take that knowledge and apply it. This hands-on experience helps students to see that they too can be entrepreneurs.
We recently heard back from a participant from the first ever entrepreneurship contest and how it influenced her current path in life:
” In the 2014-2015 school year, I was an 8th grader at Hamshire-Fannett Middle School, and I participated in the Biz Kid$ Entrepreneur Competition. I really enjoyed this competition, and I think it sparked my interest in the business field. This experience had an impact on my future college choice and career decision. I am a 2019 graduate of Hamshire-Fannett High School, and in the Fall, I will be attending the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas.” – Faith Guerrero
The business that Faith and her classmates created was called “The Pencil Pouch”. This idea came about after the they conducted a survey of students and teachers and realized there was a need for quick access to school supplies. The Pencil Pouch is a school-sponsored and student run school supply business, supplying items such as paper, pens, erasers and more. You can read more about this here.
Faith is proof that this program works, igniting her to care about her financial future in the pursuit of college and studying business. Our hope is that all kids can be Biz Kid$, like Faith!
If you are interested in learning more about the Biz Kid$ program or how your credit union could utilize it, please click here.
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