Continue Practice of Community Volunteering
(July 8, 2008 – Dallas, TX) With the Baby Boomers beginning to reach retirement age, credit unions are finding their memberships rapidly aging, and the movement has begun to devote significant resources to engage and attract young people to credit unions. From BizKid$ to in-school branches, attracting young people to credit unions has come to center stage in recent years, but the Federation has long been promoting this with community development credit unions (CDCUs). For more than ten years, the Federation has hosted yearly CDCU Youth Conferences in conjunction with its Annual Conferences on Serving the Underserved.
This year, 24 middle- and high-school youth representing six of the nation’s leading CDCU Youth Credit Union Programs (YCUPs), came to Dallas, Texas for their own conference during the Federation’s 34th Annual Conference on Serving the Underserved (June 12-14, 2008).
“Working with youth is essential for institutions working in low-income communities. These youth are at their CDCUs on a regular basis learning the skills they need to succeed and become important stakeholders in their communities,” said Federation President / CEO Clifford Rosenthal.
The CDCUs in the Federation's Youth Credit Union Network serve a wide range of youth, often offering youth savings accounts, youth financial literacy, and leadership development programs. All together the 15 CDCU youth programs approach $1.5 million in assets with more than 3,000 youth members nationwide.
|Federation youth together with some of the youth participating in the Jubilee Center's summer program.
Supporting the Local Community
In a tradition that began last year in New Orleans, the Federation’s YCUP Conference began in the credit union spirit of “people helping people”, with the youth spending their first full day at the Jubilee Center, a comprehensive revitalization project in Dallas.
“It was touching to be a part of the amazing work that the Jubilee Center is doing,” said Andi Ball-Meza one of four attendees representing Women’s Southwest FCU (Dallas, TX). “We helped them prepare classrooms for the summer, and then we got to participate in activities with some of the same kids we were helping,” she said.
Youth Teach and Learn
A highlight of this year’s youth conference was a session presented by Elsa Ramos and Stephanie Lopez, two youth from Mission SF FCU’s (San Francisco, CA) Youth Trainers for Economic Power (YTEP). Elsa and Stephanie became financial educators through the YTEP program, and have been training other San Francisco youth in financial literacy for more than a year.
In their first train-the-trainer workshop, they discussed what it takes to run a training program and shared some of the different strategies they use for training trainers. According to Pamela Owens, the Federation’s Director of Education and Training, “Elsa and Stephanie teach like seasoned trainers. Their program is an incredible resource and we’ll be looking to incorporate them and others from YTEP into the Federation’s Education and Training in the future.”
Other workshops included Building Cooperative Leadership 101, where attending youth learned about cooperatives from Tom Decker of the National Credit Union Foundation. Virginia Trevizo-Wells, a trainer from the PLAN Fund, a peer lending institution in Dallas taught a workshop on entrepreneurship and micro lending—a peer institution in Dallas.
On the last day of the YCUP Conference, the youth had the opportunity to participate in Mad City Money™, a hands-on simulation game designed to give youth a taste of the real world. One young participant said afterwards that she learned to “make a budget, go to the credit union first, and be sure to put money away for emergencies.” The game was generously donated by CUNA for the Federation’s youth.
|Youth with Shreveport FCU's Tarsha Williams (bottom right) at "Really Realty" during Mad City Money™
At the end of the conference, the Federation’s Youth Credit Union Network Task Force expressed their appreciation for the generosity of conference attendees, who donated over $650 for youth scholarships through a drawing held at the conference. The prize at the drawing was a hand-blown glass bowl donated by Northwest Baptist FCU (Seattle, WA). Melissa Marquez, CEO of Genesee Co-op FCU (Rochester, NY), a former Federation board member, was excited to win the piece while supporting the Youth Credit Union Network.
“It’s great to see all these youth who are so excited about credit unions and financial literacy. We love having them at the conference every year and hope to attract even more credit unions to participate next year,” said Dan Apfel, the Federation’s youth program coordinator.
For more information about the Federation Youth Network please click here or contact Dan Apfel at email@example.com, or (212) 809-1850, x 220.