During the months of June & July, 60 teenagers aged 13-19 from Marine, Coast Guard, Army, and Air Force families attended Youth Saves programs across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to help increase their knowledge of financial literacy.
Jonathan Harrington, Personal Financial Counselor for the MA Guard & Reserve, created the Youth Saves program to fit into the Military Youth Saves (www.militarysaves.org) theme which encourages kids and teens to develop good savings habits at a young age.
The day long programs were broken up into four teaching modules with breaks for snacks, lunch and a small amount of physical activities. The programs were tailored for two age groups. The younger teens learned about choosing careers, understanding the concepts of income & smart budgeting, starting to think about where they might go to school. The older group learned about buying cars & understanding auto insurance, the use of bank accounts, the power of compounding, establishing & maintaining credit, and college admissions & financing. The groups joined together and closed the day by playing Financial Football by Practical Money Skills for Life™.
Justin, 13, commented that “I learned that I have to be smart with my money so that I can have it for things I want in the future”. Adam, 17, said of his experience “"I want a car and this class helped me create a plan to get that car”.
Bill Burpeau, Education Specialist for Hanscom Federal Credit Union noted the benefit of the program being offered to a wide age range by saying “One thing that makes the Youth Saves program unique is that it reaches beyond the High School age down to Middle School age. The sooner kids start hearing and understanding the basic skills of managing money well, the greater the chance they will put those skills to use in their lives and avoid costly mistakes.”
Matt Paradise, Education and Outreach Team Lead & Trainer for American Consumer Credit Counseling expressing the need for this training commented that “During these turbulent economic times, one of the wisest investments we can make is to pour resources into our youth. They are the future of our economy and our nation's health depends on them.”
Representatives from eight organizations participated in the teaching part of the programs including; American Consumer Credit Counseling, the Financial Planning Association of Massachusetts, Freedom Credit Union, Hanscom Federal Credit Union, Junior Achievement of Eastern Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents, the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA) and Service Credit Union of Falmouth. Jonathan Harrington said of his effort to bring these organizations together: “I didn’t want the teens to just have me up there teaching all day. I knew I would eventually lose their attention and I’m certainly not an expert on all of the topics of instruction. Having these organization participating allowed the teens to gain knowledge from a variety of individuals who all brought their individual experiences and knowledge.”
“This Youth Saves Program that was held in Massachusetts is a good example of the mission of Military Saves” said Charles R. Lowery, Jr., Acting Director of Military Saves . “We need to spread this concept to other states so that more our servicemembers’ children gain financial literacy knowledge”.
The programs were held at the following locations: the Military and Family Support Center in Wellesley, MA; the National Guard Joint Force Headquarters in Milford, MA; Westover Air Force Base in Chicopee, MA; Camp Edwards in Bourne, MA and Fort Devens in Fort Devens, MA.
Our Military Youth Eagle has a name... "Skyler, Soaring with Savings".
Military Youth Saves is a social marketing program designed to encourage kids and teens to develop good savings habits at a young age. We want you to be a responsible saver but we also want you to spread the savings message to your family and friends!!