MADISON, Wis. (4/1/11)--National Financial Literacy Month officially begins today, with credit unions helping celebrate the importance of financial literacy while teaching consumers--especially youth--how to establish and maintain healthy financial habits.
For 2011, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has designated April as Youth Month, an expansion of its annual National Credit Union Youth Week. This year Youth Week will be April 17-23, but credit unions have the option to celebrate throughout the month. The theme for Youth Month is Money Rocks at My Credit Union (or Moneyrocks@mycreditunion). This means more time for credit unions to join CUNA's National Youth Saving Challenge. Instead of limiting the challenge to Youth Week, credit unions can choose when and how long they will celebrate.. Although many credit unions already have firmed up their plans--those who have participated in the Saving Challenge tend to return year after year--it's not too late to set up special activities at the credit union. Credit unions can sign up throughout the month (participation is free). Visit CUNA's Youth Week webpage (see the link) to get graphics and materials, ideas, and giveaways to make participating easier. Rachael Gregoire at Aurora (Colo.) Schools FCU told CUNA staff how her credit union will celebrate: It is decorating its lobby with inflatable guitars and other music theme decorations. Staff will dress up as rock stars for a day, with senior management dressing up as KISS. The lobby will feature a television with Rock Band, so kids can play and feel like "saving" rock stars. Youth who open an account or make a deposit will be entered in a drawing for an iPod shuffle. The credit union will also have fun prizes, including quarter saver folders and guitar-shaped key chains displaying the credit union's logo and "My credit union rocks!" And finally, a little history about how April came to be designated as National Financial Literacy Month: National Financial Literacy Month was introduced more than a decade ago by the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) to help teach students develop better money management habits. The Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy in 2000 designated April as Financial Literacy for Youth Month. In 2004, the U.S. Senate officially recognized April as National Financial Literacy Month, according to Keystone Extra
(April 1) from the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association.. In 2006, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) began promoting the month with an annual survey on financial education and an annual poster contest for students, Be Money Wi$e. Also, Money Management International, a nonprofit credit and debt counseling firm, created FinancialLiteracyMonth.com, which encourages consumers to commit to improving their financial health. Whether the efforts are national, statewide, or local, a sure bet is that credit unions will be behind much of the education this month about financial literacy.