PeoplesBank to 'Teach Children to Save'

Date: 7/27/2009

HOLYOKE - The adage "success is in the numbers" is proving true once again.

In just three months, a new financial literacy program implemented by PeoplesBank has already reached more than 500 students in area schools.

The program is called "Teach Children To Save" and was started by the American Bankers Association (ABA) Education Foundation this year. PeoplesBank implemented the program locally in April at public schools in Chicopee, and it rapidly expanded from there.

According to Donna Wiley, regional manager at PeoplesBank, the program addresses one of the nation's most serious problems - the lack of financial literacy - by bringing bankers right into the classroom to educate students.

"The Teach Children To Save program is a way we can demonstrate that community banks are here to help," she said. "Savings programs are excellent ways to help ensure financial stability and independence."

Wiley noted that "Teach Children To Save" has proven quite popular with area schools.

"We started with third-grade classes, expanded all the way up to high school, and will be presenting at Holyoke Community College this summer," she said. "Teachers and administrators are particularly interested in having us present to the high school students, as they are approaching the age of independent decision-making."

To date, 38 bank employees have volunteered to make presentations to 23 classrooms using grade-appropriate curriculums. Additional presentations have been scheduled at Chicopee, Holyoke, Longmeadow, South Hadley, and Springfield schools for this fall. The bank estimates that at the current pace, more than 1,000 students will have participated in the program by the end of the year.

The ABA started the "Teach Children To Save" program to bring students and bankers together to increase savings education. This year, the ABA Education Foundation hopes to reach 1 million students with a "Teach Children To Save" lesson and reports that it is well on its way toward meeting that goal by the end of first quarter 2009.