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During April Financial Literacy month, there are lots of fun activities for children to learn about important financial topics including savings and the difference between debit and credit. However, uncertainty and anxiety from the fallout from the pandemic has educators and researchers recommending more thoughtful conversations around these topics as well. Articles like Teach Kids about Money in a Financial Crisis along with 3 Ways to make Financial Literacy Month Count Amid Coronavirus are some examples of ways to initiate conversations that reduce concern and allay fear.
Looking at financial literacy trends, there are large disparities between who has access to this education and who does not. Among the most impacted are Black and Hispanic low-income families. The need to provide high-quality, proven programs about financial literacy to ensure no family deals with the burden of financial fragility—especially during times like these—is crucial. Tackling these very issues are the Send-a-School project and YouthBiz entrepreneurship training program of Young Americans Center for Financial Education (Center). These programs are designed to eliminate barriers to low-income participation in the proven educational programs delivered by the Center. Both programs are made possible through the assistance of longtime supporters like CoBank.
CoBank is a key partner in the efforts to provide an equitable financial education for all. Giving to the Center since 2007, CoBank has helped make many of the strides in the number of at-risk students reached, particularly the 60% increase in YouthBiz student participants in 2019 and the 8,603 low-income students who were able to participate in Young AmeriTowne or International Towne on scholarship.
Dave Burlage, Chief Financial Officer at CoBank, and current director and former Chair of the Young Americans Center for Financial Education Board, reflects on the work their partnership made happen, “Over the years it has been gratifying to watch the reach of the Center’s programs grow. From inner city youth exploring entrepreneurship as an avenue for a successful future to fifth graders in rural Colorado cashing their first paycheck at AmeriTowne On the Road, these hands-on, real-world experiences will have a positive impact on these kids for life.”
Thank you, CoBank, for your years of dedication to the Center’s mission and to ensuring all students in Colorado are given adequate and equitable access to a financial education.