A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Harrison Elem. fifth-graders celebrate first Fifth Third Young Bankers Club graduation

By Judy Clabes
KyForward editor

Eighty Harrison Elementary School fifth-graders who participated in a special financial literacy program provided by Fifth Third Bank spent Friday touring the bank’s downtown Lexington center, celebrating their graduation.

They were the first graduates of the program in Lexington though Fifth Third expects to expand the program to more schools in the area.

YBC is part of the bank’s financial empowerment efforts which also includes programs for adults. The student program teaches basics about money, including what it is and how people get it, the importance of saving and how education and career choices affect their future.

The program incorporates real-world activities and an interactive video game challenge for students – all aimed at instilling an appreciation for saving and financial education. The program is taught inside school classrooms, often by a Fifth Third Bank employee-mentor. YBC can also be tailored to be taught by the teacher and can be taught as a five- or 10-week program, or adapted to meet a teacher’s own lesson plans. YBC includes special field trips to a Fifth Third Banking or Operations Center.

After completing the program, students earn a certificate of completion and are able to:

‣ Identify what money is.
‣ Understand the difference between wants and needs.
‣Make basic money calculations.
‣Explore various careers and how much income they can earn.
‣Learn the basics of the stock market.
‣ Understand the operations of a bank branch or financial center.
‣ Create budgets and study spending.
‣ Examine interest and credit cards.
‣ Practice managing a bank account.
‣ Learn how to create a business plan for a small business.

“We are committed to helping students as well as adults with financial literacy,” said Brant Welch,
marketing manager.

He cited a survey by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling that showed 40 percent of adults gave themselves a grade of C, D or F on their knowledge of personal finance; 57% worried about lack of savings and 38% are concerned about retiring without enough money.

“Programs such as Young Bankers Club help students better understand the difference between wants and needs, budgeting and saving,” he said.

“The Young Bankers Club is an exciting and creative way for students who attend schools in our markets to be engaged,” said Janet Beard, vice president and director of Community and Economic Development for Fifth Third Bank Kentucky. “This is a fun and educational journey that will start them on a path of success. We offer the free program because it will have a lasting impact on the individual lives of fifth-grade students.”

The curriculum meets national and state educational standards for fifth-grade mathematics. It includes lessons covering such topics as Money Basics, Money Matters, Spending Money, Budgeting, Personal Banking, Credit Cards and Interest, Investments, and Starting Your Own Business, all written at an age-appropriate level and incorporating standards-based, real-world math problems.

Among the bank’s other signature financial empowerment programs are Teach Children to Save, Dave Ramsey’s Foundations in Personal Finance high school curriculum, and the Empowerment Mobiles for adults that includes Internet accessibly computer workstations. These eBuses travel into underserved communities and bankers provide access to quality financial services.

See www.53.com/financial-empowerment for more information.

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(Photos by Judy Clabes)

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