Originally posted on Albert Lea Tribune
There’s more to a school education than math, science, English, social studies, history and physical education. Some people just starting life after graduation may not know anything about finances.
And April is Financial Literacy Month. Fortunately, Accentra Credit Union can help people before they start life in the real world with a class in financial literacy.
“Financial literacy is knowing what finances are and how to spend, save and manage money effectively, ”said Jenny Walker, marketing director for Accentra Credit Union.
“Everyone has a financial situation — for some it’s not so good, and for others, it’s great. But everyone — everyone — has one.”
To help students, Accentra has sponsored Banzai, an interactive content platform that teaches students about finance and whose program aligns with state standards, since 2012.
And because one of the company’s values is community enrichment, they wanted to partner with Banzai.
“We’re committed to improving the financial literacy in our communities,” she said. “We have a responsibility as a credit union to the financial health of the communities we serve.”
There are currently four Banzai courses, each designed for students at different grades.
For example, she said the elementary school program was more of a game simulator where students learn to own and operate a lemonade stand and face real-world scenarios.
“It makes reading, math and critical thinking fun for these kids,” she said.
High schoolers, on the other hand, look at their spending habits, learn to maintain healthy credit, learn to qualify for a mortgage and utilize insurance.
“Everyone has a financial situation,” she said. “Financial literacy begins at a very early age.”
Walker described financial literacy as a process, where the goal is to master and apply new skills.
Accentra Credit Union is currently sponsoring 46 schools in southern Minnesota, including Albert Lea Area Learning Center, Southwest Middle School and Albert Lea High School.
“Any teacher in those schools can go in for free, sign up their students and utilize the Banzai program,” she said.
One hundred and six teachers and 7,720 students utilize Banzai, and any teacher at any grade-level is welcome to implement the program, which is open at any time.
If you are a teacher and would like to sign up, visit accentra.teachbanzai.com/. According to Walker, courses typically take anywhere from two to six hours to complete, and tests are automatically graded. Courses can be retaken to assess any changes different decisions could have.
“It’s been a great tool and I know a lot of teachers have utilized this through COVID when schools were shut down,” she said.
In a follow-up email, Walker said Accentra and Banzai wanted to educate and help people create healthy economic habits “so they can make confident financial decisions in every life stage.”
For members of the community who would like to visit their library of financial articles, access calculators and more, visit accentra.teachbanzai.com/wellness.
And because April is Financial Literacy month, Accentra Credit Union will be sharing financial articles, coaches and financial calculators on its Facebook page.