A new financial education program is making a big difference in the lives of area families. Explorations V Children’s Museum, a United Way partner, held its first ever Biggest Saver program last year with 11 families completing the course. Biggest Saver families move toward financial independence through free financial literacy classes for children and adults culminating in an emergency savings account of $300.
The six-week program, which teaches money basics such as budgeting, shopping wisely and how to improve your credit score, is offered annually in the Fall and Spring. Children and adults are taught in separate groups then brought together to compete for prizes in fun family financial challenges. Parents receive guidance from trained credit counselors and bank representatives. Families who deposit $150 into an emergency savings account can also earn matching funds provided by TD Bank.
“We invite parents and children up to 12 years old to participate in the classes,” said Georgann Carlton, CEO at Explorations V in Lakeland. “We have incentives for them all along the way.”
A local family with six children was able to weather a crisis because of the emergency savings account they created as part of the program. The children were visiting their grandmother in Georgia when she became ill and could not care for them. The parents needed to drive to Georgia to pick up their children on short notice. Fortunately, the couple was able to use the money in their new savings account to pay for the vehicle fuel.
The mother called the children’s museum later to thank Georgann and to say that the program was an answered prayer for her. The same family had to dip into their replenished savings account again a few months later when their mobile home experienced a plumbing problem.
The children’s museum recently received funding from the United Way that will enable them to launch a larger county-wide financial education services program in Polk. The new program will partner with local nonprofits to teach personal finance skills to children and adults starting in September. For more information on how to get involved, please call Explorations V at 863-687-3869 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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