First Source, initially founded as Utica Teachers Federal Credit Union in 1938, has deep roots in education, so financial literacy is very important to us. When people learn good financial habits at an early age, they benefit throughout their lifetimes. That is why we’ve offered the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) program for many years. We also now sponsor the Banzai Financial Literacy Program, along with a dedicated Schools Relationship Coordinator, to help students learn to spend and save wisely. The program serves middle and high school students, and a new program for elementary students will be launched later this year.
The curriculum includes lessons in written and interactive online forms, and takes students through real-life adult financial scenarios where they “choose their destination” as they go. From navigating taxes to paying auto insurance, they learn skills they can use in their lives as they become financially more independent.
Participants learn to track and manage their money, make financial trade-offs, practice discipline, and make sound financial decisions. When we visit the class, we show them how to build and maintain credit, the pitfalls of revolving debt, and offer a real-world perspective that (we hope!) students will carry with them.
The online learning center also offers relationship builders for the students. Once their course is completed, if they open a new First Source youth account, we will deposit $10 in their savings!
Our biggest reward is the thanks we get from teachers and students.
Thank you so much for your sponsorship of the Banzai Financial Literacy Program in local schools! This month I had 115 students in my 7th grade Home and Careers classes complete the Banzai program. I liked how Life Scenarios presented real-world financial situations and budgeting decisions that students will face in the near future.
During the last 2 weeks of school when it’s difficult to keep students’ attention, the Banzai program engaged my students in the online curriculum, and had them asking excellent questions. Many of them were excited to have me fill out their completion certificate to take home to their parents, and one student even brought his into First Source to open an account! Thank you for sponsoring this valuable life skills curriculum for my students. Many Thanks!
– Mrs. Kristy Aldrich, Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher Holland Patent Middle School
Thank you so much for sponsoring the Clinton Middle School! We sincerely appreciate your generous contribution and love the financial literacy program. We have had many wonderful class discussions based on the scenarios and the content that the Banzai Program has provided our students! Thank you once again!!
– Miquel Grimm
Thank you for providing the materials to use in my business classes this year. It will enhance the interactive process in my classroom. Being able to use real life scenarios to engage the students makes teaching financial concepts simple. Once again thank you.
– Terry Stanimer, Notre Dame High School
“I learned how to space out my money responsibly, and how to be smart with payments/paychecks.”
“I learned that financial goals are hard to achieve if you don’t save properly.”
“I learned how to keep money and use it wisely on things I need. As well as how to say no to something when I don’t have enough money.”
“I learned how to manage my bank account.”
“I realized it’s hard to manage money! It’s not just telling yourself to remember to buy this or that, you actually need different accounts/jars for different things.”
“I learned the consequences of being in debt.”
“I learned that life can take unexpected turns and that sometimes you have to sacrifice luxuries for your bills.”
“I learned to be prepared for accidents and emergencies.”
“To be honest I didn’t know much of anything about checking accounts, credit cards and managing money. Now I feel like at least I know a little more than I did before, which is good to go into the future, knowing something rather than being really confused in a real life scenario.”
If you’re a local educator and want to learn more about the program, please contact Sue Maxam at 315-735-8571 for more information.