Teaching Kids Real Live Lessons on How to Save Money

Fresno, CA "We want to save money because if we spend all our money we're not going to be rich!!" Ask any of these first grade students at Bud Rank Elementary about money and they'll tell you, they've been working on their fortune for quite some time.

Emelie Gidstedt, first grade student said, "If I get money from the tooth fairy I save it in my wallet in a special place.

Abby Sosa, 1st grade student said, "I usually keep money that I get from the tooth fairy in my drawer in a jewelry box." While that's a great place to star, Jeff Williams with Educational Employees Credit Union wants to show students how to go from saving money in a jewelry box to an actual bank: "A lot of them don't get this information in the schools or from their parents so we try to hit as many students as possible."

Williams has taught nearly 10,000 banking classes to children in kindergarten through college. He said developing healthy banking habits, saving money, and planning for the future is just as important as getting a good education: "What I stress to them is if they go to college and pursue their education chances are they can get a better career which in turn means more money."

While banking activities are fun at this age, Williams said high school students usually have tough questions about what's in store for them, "They are just hearing about all these major corporations going under and they are wondering what's next, where is that going to leave me, how am I going to get a job in this economy?

For older students, here at McLane High School nearly 24 hundred students have access to a working bank that is run completely by fellow students." "Anybody who is on campus can come and process transactions." Senior Luis Sanchez said with today's economy, he's concerned about being able to afford college. Now he's learning how to save and manage money, working at an actual West America Bank located on the campus of McLane High School.

Luis Sanchez, Senior P.R. said, "We're in a recession you basically have to know a lot about financing how to take care of your money what to do with it."

Back in September of 2007 the McLane High School branch originally opened as County Bank, the first student run bank in California; but when County Bank failed in February, and West America stepped in students witnessed firsthand a real life bank takeover.

Micheal Wallert, West America Bank President said. "We had the CEO of West America come and talk to us and tell us what was happening we had the FDIC come down and it was kind of crazy." Students made the switch, as other employees lost their jobs. Teaching liaison Sharon Schafer said that's an experience you can't get in a classroom, "it became very real to them it was more than a class because they knew most of the people."

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