Members 1st Federal Credit Union understands the need for financial education in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Currently, Pennsylvania educators are working to integrate financial education and an understanding of personal finances into the existing PA Department of Education’s curricula so that students are graduating as active and engaged citizens to make intelligent financial decisions. While personal finance is found in multiple Academic Standards documents, community resources with subject-matter experts should also play an important role in teaching financial education to students. Members 1st has taken that a step further by recently aligning their financial literacy curriculum to PA Department of Education’s state standards.
Through its longstanding Financial Education program, Members 1st is providing the tools necessary to enrich community members and students with the skills they need to make financially sound decisions. A financial education committee, comprised fully of Members 1st associates, engages with the students by facilitating hands-on financial education lessons in area schools and businesses that are free of charge. In 2018, Members 1st conducted 245 financial education presentations and year to date in 2019, the credit union has completed over 190 lessons across Central PA and seeks to surpass the number of lessons delivered in 2018.
“The Members 1st Financial Literacy Program is top notch and has had a positive impact on the education of hundreds of my students over the years,” says Cumberland Valley High School Mathematics Teacher, Maddona Gabert. “The program not only reinforces the curriculum that is being taught within the classroom, but it supplements and enhances the experience for students as it presents real world applications and relates the material to aspects of everyday life.”
While some credit unions offer some type of program, Members 1st is committed to increasing its impact. This year, the credit union partnered with an education consultant, Kathy Blouch, Director of the Master of Science in STEM Education and STEM Programming at Lebanon Valley College, to align all lessons that Members 1st developed for high school and adult learners to Pennsylvania Department of Education’s state standards. This alignment establishes content standard areas that contribute toward financial literacy. The 12 topics offered are Art of Budgeting, Banking Services, Buying a Home, Cars and Loans, Consumer Awareness, Credit, Understanding Credit Cards, Influence of Advertising, Living on Your Own, Making Decisions, Making Money, and Saving & Investing. Each lesson is comprised of a power point presentation, a lesson plan that details each standard met, and an activity. Educators who take advantage of Members 1st’s program will now be able to provide students with financial education in the classroom, while also meeting required PA Department of Education standards.
“We’re really proud of this initiative,” says Chief Marketing Officer, Mike Wilson. “Not only are we meeting a very important educational need in the communities that we serve, but we feel we are making an impact on young people across our footprint to make them more financially sound citizens.”
This implementation was a result of Members 1st’s Leaders in Financial Literacy Award from the Pennsylvania Credit Union Foundation in 2018 for its educational initiative with Milton Hershey School. PCUA provides guidance and funding to credit unions and their partnering non-profit organizations working to educate and improve the financial literacy skills of consumers of all ages. As a 2018 award recipient, Members 1st received a grant in the amount of $2,500 which funded the curriculum alignment initiative.
Members 1st carries out its dedication to financial literacy education through various other ways, supplementary to its own program. Each year, the credit union serves as the Financial Literacy sponsor for Junior Achievement’s Young Men’s and Young Women’s symposiums and presents budgeting seminars at each event. Members 1st also participates in the Credit Union Ambassador Harrisburg Chapter contest held each year in November where young credit union associates compete against other local credit union associates on various industry topics.
Members 1st FCU serves more than 435,000 members through its locations in Southcentral Pennsylvania. To learn more about Members 1st or to schedule a financial education presentation, visit www.members1st.org or call (800) 283-2328.