MARION - Local students are getting a free education in how to manage their money. SIU Credit Union has made an award-winning financial literacy program available for free to over 200 schools in Williamson, Jackson, and other neighboring counties.
"Banzai is a web-based financial literacy program. Kids get their own accounts, and they work through assignments that are based on real life," Morgan Vandagriff, co-founder of Banzai, said. "But because SIU Credit Union is sponsoring it, local schools get it for free. More than ever, it's important that kids develop sound financial skills to prepare them for the real world, and SIU Credit Union realizes that and they're doing something about it."
Banzai is an interactive, online program supplemented by printed workbooks and aligns with Illinois state curriculum requirements for personal finance education. The course work can be completed on any internet enabled computer or mobile device, and teachers are able to monitor student progress remotely. It has become the largest program of its kind, servicing more than 60,000 teachers nationwide.
SIU Credit Union has offered time, money, industry experience, and a variety of credit union resources to help local schools teach personal finance in the classroom. Students using the program are exposed to real-life scenarios where they learn to pay bills and balance a budget – but it’s not always easy. Students must learn to manage unexpected expenses such as parking tickets, interest charges and overdraft fees. The educational program also introduces students to auto loans, bank statements, entertainment costs, savings and more.
Teachers interested in using the Banzai program can visit siucu.teachbanzai.com or call 888-822-6924.