Our Education Roots Sprout Success: Part 5
Studies show nearly half of all students leave high school without any financial education. Recognizing this financial literacy gap, OnPoint has worked for many years to equip people of all ages with the tools and knowledge they need to achieve sustainable financial wellness. With more than two-thirds of Americans facing severe economic setbacks in 2020, financial education is more important than ever.
“Engaging young people in money topics now, especially during this time of uncertainty, will instill responsible habits early and empower them to take control of their personal finances, even if it starts with their weekly allowance,” said Erin Moore, our Education Program Manager who oversees OnPoint’s efforts to increase financial resiliency among residents of Oregon and SW Washington. “Now is the time to engage kids on basic financial concepts that will help them understand how to make smart financial decisions as adults.”
As an organization founded by schoolteachers, financial education is part of our DNA. In part five of the “Our Education Roots Sprout Success” series, we share more about programs that empower people to make smart money management decisions.
Building a legacy one volunteer at a time
Our employees’ dedication to sharing their time and expertise in our community fuels OnPoint’s mission to improve financial literacy and wellness in the region. Volunteers like Araceli Gonzalez, Branch Operations Supervisor at our Kruse Meadows Branch, engage local students through Financial Beginnings and Junior Achievement of Oregon and SW Washington. Araceli works directly with elementary students and high school girls in the Hispanic community who are beginning to work and make their own financial decisions.
“When I was in high school, a financial professional spoke to one of my classes. At first, I had no idea what he was talking about because I had never learned any of these concepts before, and I was not alone,” recalled Araceli. “The discussion around CDs and the fact I could make money with my own money caught my attention and truly changed my life. Anyone who handles money should have basic financial knowledge, and that’s practically everyone. I want to share these important lessons with other members of my community who will see benefits for the rest of their lives.”
When students attend financial literacy sessions with volunteers like Araceli, they gain confidence and prepare to enter the world with a better understanding of money and finances.
Our financial literacy volunteers are crucial to our mission of improving financial literacy in our region. To ensure our classrooms have continued access through hybrid and remote learning, we adapted our in-person approach into engaging virtual formats. We look forward to serving more classrooms in the coming year. Learn more about our free financial education resources.
Partnering to expand our impact
We’re continually looking for new opportunities to amplify the missions of community organizations that share our dedication to financial literacy. We are proud to have launched a new partnership with Birch Community Services (BCS) this year with a $5,000 donation to help local families build a foundation of success with grocery relief and financial education.
Our support helps fund BCS’s innovative Sustainable Families Program, in which families pay $80 per month to have a membership. Members must volunteer at least two hours of their time each month in the warehouse sorting groceries and clothes, stocking shelves or tearing down boxes.
In return, members can go “shopping” every week in BCS’s warehouse, taking home an average of $1,000 per month in food, clothing and household items. Members also have one-on-one meetings with a Financial Literacy Manager and take an eight-hour financial literacy course that helps with budgeting, catching up on bills, building savings and paying down debt.
Suzanne Birch, Executive Director of BCS explained, “We look like a food security program, but we primarily focus on financial literacy. Providing our families with immediate financial relief on groceries, clothing and personal care items not only creates margin to pay down debt, but it also opens them up to the world of financial education.”
Financial education starts at home
Reaching financial goals starts with understanding. That’s why we offer various financial education resources that help families set realistic goals, understand how their relationship with money affects decisions, and how to create a plan to achieve their goals.
- Enrich helps people build a personal understanding of money and chart a customized financial education journey with practical tools that create or update a budget, establish financial goals, and create a personalized plan. OnPoint provides free access to these resources for everyone in our community.
- Getting started with your free profile unlocks full access to digital courses and personalized recommendations. From there, you can complete our money personality quiz and financial wellness checkup to stay on track. These tools will tell you where you are in your journey and unlock custom content that will help you make money decisions that will prepare you for tomorrow.
- GreenPath provides members in financial distress with access to confidential, no-cost one-on-one financial counseling, support from creditors to develop a debt repayment plan, and hands-on money management tools.
- The OnPoint Blog offers the latest practical tips and advice to help families improve their understanding of finances and attain financial wellness. One example is our post “The Biggest Cybersecurity Questions for Parents” which provides useful guidance to help keep kids and families safe online.
Never too soon to start learning
When talking to kids about money and finances, the earlier, the better—learning how to make, count, and save money early on builds a foundation of knowledge and instills responsible habits that provide lifetime benefits to kids.
OnPoint offers financial products and services to support young people as they begin their financial journey. OnPoint Savers is a great place to start. This high-yield savings account for kids is an exciting way to introduce the basics of money and finances. Not only do we offer an incredible 5.00% APY**, but we also deposit an additional $55* when a child’s membership is opened with a minimum deposit of $25. Learn more about OnPoint Savers.
It takes years of dedication to create a true legacy. With the schoolteachers who founded us as our inspiration and guide, we have worked for 89 years to advance financial wellness in our region. Whether we are inspiring students with financial education, supporting our high school seniors with scholarships, closing the education gap for underserved students, or honoring the outstanding educators in our community, our work never stops.
As the region continues to face financial unknowns, we are more determined than ever. We look forward to growing our partnerships and our team of volunteers, adapting to our member and community’s evolving needs, and ultimately, fulfilling our purpose of building strong communities, one person at a time. Thank you for your ongoing support.