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Brazil schools CUs teach cooperative spirit
RIO GRANDE, Brazil (1/24/08)--A small group of U.S credit union executives participating in the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU)--sponsored Brazil Engagement Program this week visited a credit union and a school Wednesday.
Children at a rural Brazilian school perform a dance Wednesday that exemplifies cooperative ideals inherent in the credit union philosophy. The children performed for a small group of U.S. credit union executives, who are visiting the country this week as part of the World Council of Credit Unions' Brazilian Engagement Program. (Photo provided by World Council of Credit Unions)
At the credit union, in a rural part of the Brazilian state of Rio Grande, the group learned how Brazilian credit unions work with schools to attract students who may eventually become members of the credit union, Bill DeMare, president/CEO of Bay Gulf CU and a trip participant, told News Now. Bay Gulf CU is located in Tampa, Fla. “In the U.S., many of the schools put credit unions in the school and they are run by students,” DeMare said. “In Brazil, they are teaching the philosophy of the credit union.” The Rio Grande School focuses on ecology, culture and the arts, and the students “showed off” their garden and the crops they grew, he added. “The credit union is supporting these endeavors, so students in grades one through eight learn about the cooperative philosophy,” DeMare explained. “So then, when they are old enough to become a member, they will want to go to a credit union or a cooperative to become a member because they understand the philosophy of a cooperative. “It’s a unique way of attracting people into a credit union,” he concluded. The most impressive aspect of Wednesday’s excursion was how well-integrated the Brazilian credit union system makes the credit union in the lives of its members, said Lucy Ito, vice president of research, communication and public affairs for the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues. Ito also is a trip participant. “The credit union system actually is forecasting what it needs to do for credit unions and the country--not just now--but 25 years from now,” Ito said. “It’s a very ambitious educational program. They are teaching citizenship, social responsibility and cooperativism. “The schools are educating kids about responsible citizenship and the cooperative spirit,” she added. Watch for further reports this week from News Now on the Brazil Engagement Program.
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