CUs Champion Youth Financial Education

Be inspired by this year's Desjardins Award winners.

March 03, 2011
KEYWORDS leaders , program , youth
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Creativity and determination can produce dramatic results, especially in the realm of youth financial education.

Prime examples of this appear in the Welcome Center, where attendees can view top entries from the 2010 Desjardins Award program, which recognizes credit union leadership on behalf of youth financial literacy. It’s sponsored by CUNA’s business to consumer publishing department.

The 2010 award program received a record 58 state-winning entries from 30 states. Judges selected the best dozen as worthy of standing as models for credit union youth financial education efforts nationwide.
These efforts are the judges’ favorites:

Credit Union 1, Anchorage, Alaska, for its school-business partnership that teaches students responsible money management and saving techniques for future goals. This program succeeds because it engages all important stakeholders: youth, parents, school officials, and teachers.

DOCO Regional Federal Credit Union, Albany, Ga. Despite having a limited staff and budget, this credit union implemented a custom financial literacy program that affects more than 2,100 students. It designed the program as a reusable resource that has the potential to reach more than 67,000 young people within its field of membership.

• Mission SF Federal Credit Union, San Francisco, gets high marks for motivating children of low-income families to amass an average $400 each in personal savings. The credit union’s innovative Prize-Linked Account for Youth (PLAY) has led to media coverage, boosting awareness of youth financial literacy.

You don’t have to tackle youth financial education alone: CUNA’s Personal Finance Initiative offers resources for youth, adults, and underserved communities, says Phil Heckman, CUNA’s director of youth programs.

This online financial literacy resource gives credit union leaders a place to share best practices, review research, and discuss financial education. Also available are financial education tools from CUNA and its partners and PF Interactive, a private network site credit union leaders can use to share ideas.

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory (www.appreciationatwork.com/assess) will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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