Gather FCU expands youth financial-literacy programs

  • Terri Kaniho / Special to The Garden Island file

    Keiki with Kapa‘a Elementary School’s summer-school program stop for a photo with Gather Federal Credit Union staff and their teachers during the Building Savers Field Trip to Gather FCU’s Kapa‘a branch last year.

LIHUE — Gather Federal Credit Union has partnered with Banzai Direct to offer elementary, middle, and high-school students a financial literacy online program for free.

Banzai teaches kids about credit scores, credit reports, avoiding mistakes, identity theft, borrowing, IOUs, credit cards, auto loans, mortgages, down payments, emergencies, interest and fees, making payments, budgeting, tax returns and more.

In 2008, GFCU partnered with the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa’s Kid’s Savings project for the furtherance of all Kaua‘i keiki.

According to GFCU’s Business Development Manager Stephenie Brown, scientific studies have reported children who have a savings account in their name and start saving regularly end up graduating from high school and finishing more years of college than those who don’t.

Since partnering up with UH of Manoa’s Kid’s Savings project, GFCU is now on the only island that currently participates in their financial program because of their commitment to Kaua‘i’s children.

Before the pandemic, Brown said GFCU hosted in-classroom visits, in-branch field trips and lunch and learn seminars while visiting schools regularly to collect deposits, and GFCU has purchased the Banzai Direct Financial Literacy Program for all public and private schools as well as for all nonprofit programs on Kaua‘i.

“Since the inception of the Kids Savings Project, the children of Kaua‘i have saved and deposited over $200,000,” said Brown.

Brown said GFCU offers financial literacy online, and will supply education workbooks for all ages for free.

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