KAMUELA, Hawaii (8/3/11)--Hawaii First FCU has partnered with the Office for Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) to help local residents become financially independent. With the support of OHA, Hawaii First FCU has developed the Native Hawaiian Prosperity Program, which will be available to Hawaii County residents seeking tools to overcome poverty and obtain self-sustainability. The program includes the expansion of the Hawaii First Community Resource Center to Hilo; free financial counseling; financial education outreach to schools; and resource assistance focused on economic empowerment. Among the tools provided through the program is Hawaii First FCU’s Individual Development Accounts (IDA). IDAs are matched savings accounts where participants set a goal, save money for that goal, then work toward that goal by achieving regular deposits, financial education, financial counseling and small-business development. After participants attain the requirements, their savings are matched $4 for every $1 saved, giving members credit toward necessary purchases required for the goal. The funds go directly from Hawaii First FCU toward their asset purchases. “We work on the front lines with our community members and see what works and what doesn’t from day to day,” said Laura Aguirre, Hawaii First FCU president/CEO. “The impact these vital resources are making on our island is what keeps us striving to make these programs possible.” The Hawaii First Community Resource Center is a community outreach program of the credit union. It provides services to residents of the Big Island.