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GCS Credit Union provides remote-learning financial literacy program for local schools

Local students are getting a free education in how to manage their money.

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ALTON — Local students are getting a free education in how to manage their money. GCS Credit Union is working with Banzai, a national financial literacy program, to make free online, remote-friendly curriculum available to 50 schools in Madison and St. Clair counties.

GCS Credit Union has offices in Alton, Edwardsville, Pontoon Beach, Collinsville and O’Fallon, Illinois.

“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 GCS 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 GCS 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. The program services more than 60,000 teachers nationwide.

GCS 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, balance a budget, and 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 and savings.

Teachers interested in using the Banzai program can visit or call 888-8-BANZAI.

Banzai interactive courses are fun and FREE. Go ahead.