Gardiner FCU has long been committed to financial education for area school children, K – 12. This included going into the schools, creating interactive content for students, and teaching them lessons early in life, to help set them up for successful budgeting and saving, throughout their lives.
Four years ago, they began holding after hours workshops, for adults, on topics ranging from Basic Budgeting, to Estate Planning, and Avoiding Scams. These free workshops featured local experts on the featured topics. They were first open to CU members and then opened up to community members. When asked one evening, after the workshop “I don’t get it. What’s in this for the Credit Union?” Kelly Marie, GFCU’s Marketing Coordinator answered, “If any of you have learned something new and found something that has helped you in any way, that is what we get out of it. Knowing you have benefited and are happier, or better off for it, is all we need.”
Needless to say, the pandemic has us all doing our jobs differently. No longer able to go into the schools, to assist with financial education, Gardiner FCU has found new ways to reach out with valuable lessons for all ages. For the Kindergarten or first grade classes, they launched a new YouTube channel, called GFCU4kids. There, Kelly has uploaded recorded video classes for the students. Below the link to each video is a list of materials needed or a linked PDF worksheet, to finish the lessons. These can be used by teachers in the classrooms, or by parents in the homes. “The one positive thing about not being able to go into the classrooms, is that I can now finally be in more than one place at the same time,” Kelly mused. Now, instead of running four classes out of one elementary school, she is able to offer it anywhere and everywhere.
On their website, gardinerfcu.org, there have been new links and features added to pages that are targeted for certain age groups. There are interactive games, animated videos, and resources to help put our youth on firm financial footing and have them better prepared than most of us were. To help replace the workshops, previously offered to their adult members, a new page was added to the website. It covers topics from tips & resources for the college-bound and their parents to ten financial tips for seniors. All of these pages and links are available, under the Products & Services tab on their website.
Gardiner FCU is also very excited to announce that they have partnered with ZOGO, to make an app available to students, teachers, CU members and community members. They are the first institution in Maine to make it available. The app teaches financial education in little snippets, then asks questions. The more correct answers, the more points earned. Points are redeemable for FREE Gift Cards to popular places like iTunes and Amazon. They just rolled it out to some of the area high schools, hoping it will benefit students. Adults are welcome to earn while they learn too. There are great lessons on budgeting, credit, loans & more. If you are interested, go to the app store on your phone, look up ZOGO and download. Your access code is GARDINER. It’s that easy to earn free gift cards, all while becoming smarter savers & better budgeters.