Since 2003, Maine community bank Machias Savings Bank has hosted Future Promises for students throughout Washington County, one of the most rural counties in the state which face a high level of poverty. The program starts with an annual job fair hosted by MSB at the University of Maine at Machias. All students in grades 3rd-6th in Washington County are invited to attend the fair. The bank invites various professionals to attend as well to discuss their jobs with students. Some of the professionals include: bankers, construction workers, vets, broadcast reporters, law enforcement and many others. Each of the professionals has a booth where they speak to the kids about their job and what it took for them to get into their chosen profession. Many of them provide engaging activities for the children to help spark their interest.
In addition to hosting the event, there is also have a booth staffed by MSB employees. At the MSB booth, staffers distribute financial literacy materials and discuss banking careers with the students. Each teacher is provided a series of financial literacy games to use in the classroom.
After the fair, students are encouraged to write an essay on what they want to be when they grow up and submit it to the bank. A committee reviews the essays and selects 20 winners. The recipients and their families are invited to an awards banquet where MSB provides dinner and presents them with their award. Students receive a certificate, a complete set of financial literacy games and a $250 voucher that can be applied to a savings account or a 529 college savings account.
This program has achieved tremendous growth in the past several years with more than 900 students attending the Future Promises Job Fair in 2013. Currently, Machias Savings Bank is exploring the expansion of Future Promises to include two additional counties.
Throughout the month of August, we’ll be posting regular posts highlighting financial literacy information, including community banks who are active in their local communities’ financial literacy programs.
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