LANSING, Mich. (8/26/13)--While many kids attend recreational camps in the summer, CASE CU in Lansing, Mich., will use a Biz Kid$ Education Grant to fund a financial education and entrepreneurship camp for youth from low-income families, beginning in the summer of 2014.
Biz Kid$ is a financial literacy initiative of the National Credit Union Foundation that includes an award-winning TV series, free classroom curriculum, outreach activities, a website and a monthly online newsletter targeting children 9 to 16 years old.
The genesis for the idea of the camp began with Kara Peters, financial education coordinator with the $230 million asset credit union.
"In my capacity, I go out to schools and look for educational activities for K-12 students," Peters told News Now. "Part of my job is come up with innovative items for teaching kids. I was brainstorming for ideas to reach more kids and to get the community involved, and I came across Biz Kid$ grants in doing my research.
"The grant idea is to get kids to become entrepreneurs and help the community economically," she added. "And we at the credit union are stakeholders in that."
The impetus behind the camp is to have kids develop a sound financial foundation and gain business savvy and real-world skills to help them create their own business opportunities through entrepreneurship, Peters explained.
Peters is a certified teacher and will run classes at the camp, incorporating some Biz Kid$ episodes on money basics and entrepreneurship. The kids will work as a group to develop a complete business plan including marketing, income and expense plans. One teacher fellow from middle school or high school also is funded by the grant, and CASE CU staffers will help run the camp, she said.
Community business leaders, including CASE CEO Jeffery Benson, will mentor the youth and listen to them present their business plans at the conclusion of the camp.
Although the camp still is in the formulation stage, it will be held one time next summer for two weeks or less, and CASE CU hopes to have 22 to 30 kids participating. The Biz Kid$ grant is in the $3,000 to $5,000 range, Peters said.
In the Lansing area, 77% of the youth from the area's public schools qualify for free or reduced lunches, according to official statistics, Peters said. "They have a lot of challenges that come with lower socio-economic status," she added.
Because financial education is not mandated in Michigan's public school curriculum, credit unions have an opportunity, Peters said. "It is important to note that credit unions are uniquely positioned to fill a gap in personal financial education," she concluded.
This article is part of a News Now series of exclusive, special reports on credit unions' outreach efforts and innovative ideas. Fostering service excellence, removing barriers and raising awareness about the value credit unions provide their members and communities are the foundation for the Credit Union National Association's, state credit union leagues' and credit unions' Unite For Good campaign toward a vision in which Americans choose credit unions as their best financial provider.