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CUs in the Community
Monday, April 14, 2014 6:40 AM

A+ FCU Youth Financial Camps Receive Excellence in Financial Literacy Education Award

A+ FCU is pleased to announce that its Youth Financial Camps have received the Institute for Financial Literacy’s 2014 Excellence In Financial Literacy Education (EIFLE) Award (EIFLEawards.org) for the Children’s Education Program of the Year, Planning & Money Management category.

The Institute for Financial Literacy (FinancialLit.org) recognized the A+FCU Youth Financial Camps for their success in promoting and developing financial literacy programs that teach children the value of managing money.

An authority on financial education, the Institute advances professionalism and effectiveness in the field of financial literacy education worldwide. In one its most competitive years, the Institute awarded 16 EIFLE Awards to organizations and individuals that support financial literacy education.

“We are extremely honored to receive this prestigious award for our innovative Youth Financial Camps,” said A+FCU CEO Kerry A. S. Parker. “As a credit union founded by educators nearly 65 years ago, it is part of our culture to provide financial literacy education to the communities we serve.”

Since 2010, A+FCU’s free Youth Financial Camps have educated nearly 400 students in the Greater Austin area through hands-on projects and simulations that teach students money skills in fun and relevant ways.

During the summer, A+FCU offers several half days camps for youth going into 3rd – 8th grades.

Churchill H.S. Students Get Lesson in Finance with Scavenger Hunt

Generations FCUTo kick off Financial Literacy Month, the Generations FCU Student Life Team hosted 50 students from San Antonio’s Churchill High School for a Financial Scavenger Hunt through the credit union’s headquarters and North Central branch.  Students got a behind-the-scenes view of the day-to-day operations of the Credit Union, working with front-line tellers, visiting the vault and drive-thru teller pod and meeting with senior executives.

After the hunt, Churchill students were “quizzed” about topics they had learned during the visit that included finances, applying for jobs and information security.  Students were then “Einstein-ed” with bushy Albert Einstein mustaches, which acknowledged them as “Financial Geniuses.”

“High school and college kids today are inundated with advertising that encourages them to spend money without regard to their financial futures,” said Student Brand Manager, Kimberly Blohm.  “So if we are going to try to counteract those very powerful messages, we need to do it with authenticity and, more importantly, in a way that speaks to them and engages them.”

In addition to Churchill High School, Generations will be partnering with every college in the Alamo Community Colleges district to bring financial literacy classes to college students.  The Generations Student Life Team will teach almost 30 classes during the month of April at San Antonio College, Palo Alto College, Northeast Lakeview College, St. Philip’s College and Northwest Vista College.

Churchill High School is also trying to break the Guinness Book of World Record for the longest chain of shoes and Generations FCU partnered with the students to help them reach that goal.  The current world record is 24,962 pairs of shoes laced together, and the students from Churchill are trying to collect 30,000 laced up shoes to beat the record with an April 17 deadline.

Generations FCU tied the partnership in with National Financial Fitness Day, giving staff who donated either shoes or made a $5 donation to the cause, an “old school” fitness headband and wristband.  Staff members raised $300 and donated several bags of lace shoes.  David Rodriguez and Kimberley Blohm led the project on behalf of the credit union.

“It’s awesome to see these students step up to be leaders within their community,” said Blohm.  “They want to make a difference by collecting and donating shoes, but they want to challenge themselves and make a lasting name for themselves at the same time.”

Once Churchill has broken the record, all of the shoes collected will be donated to Soles4Souls and Green Sneakers.

Armed Forces Financial Network Donates ‘Thank You’ Gift Cards to Lackland Fisher House

The Armed Forces Financial Network (AFFN), in partnership with on-base financial institutions on Lackland AFB, presented eighty $50 gift cards to the Lackland Fisher House. The “Thank you” gift cards, which are presented to the Fisher House annually, are the organization’s channel to support the men and women in our armed forces.

Representatives from Air Force Federal Credit Union and Security Service Federal Credit Union made the presentation to Col John R. Ekstrand (59th Medical Wing Commander) and Dwayne F. Hopkins (Fisher House Executive Director), on behalf of the financial institutions on Lackland AFB. The gift cards, totaling $4,000.00, were presented to Fisher House on Friday, March 21, 2014.

The gift cards can be used at any of the 1.3 million locations worldwide accepting AFFN payments including DeCA (Defense Commissary Agency) and AAFES (Army and Air Force Exchange Service). The cards work the same as regular debit or ATM cards, and residents will be able to use them throughout the year. The gift cards will be distributed to military personnel and family by Fisher House management.

“The AFFN gift cards are very much appreciated and used by all who stay at our houses,” Dwayne Hopkins stated. “With so many people focused on their medical needs, the cards give extra support for the families to use during their time here. It is a simple and sincere “Thank You” that goes a long way in making their stay here a little easier.”

InTouch CU ‘Cell’-Ebrates 40th Anniversary in CU Tradition of Helping Others

Much has changed in the 40 years since a group of Electronic Data Systems (EDS) employees had their credit union charter approved by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) in the spring of 1974. In the years since InTouch CU (ITCU) - then named EDS CU - first opened its doors, they have acquired both First American FCU (FAFCU) and Ensign FCU in 2009, leading to their InTouch CU name change in 2010. ITCU, in its current iteration, continues to grow, with a recent acquisition of Dr Pepper Employees Federal Credit Union leading to their current standing with more than 74,000 members and $800 million in assets.

And, while the average home price in America is no longer $35,000, one thing that hasn’t changed is the Credit Union’s passion for helping its members and others in the community achieve their dreams. A common saying to describe the credit union industry’s mission is “Not for profit, not for charity, but for service” and it is in that vein that InTouch CU planned their 40th Anniversary celebration.

Throughout April and May 2014, InTouch CU will be collecting used cell phones and/or monetary donations for Cell Phones For Soldiers®, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which earns funds by recycling cell phones. CPFS takes those funds to purchase prepaid international calling cards for troops to connect with their loved ones at home. ITCU has chosen to honor both their members and the community’s 40 years of service in the spirit of “people helping people,” by offering to match donations made at their branches , with a $1 donation per cell phone and an equal dollar match of any monetary donations, up to $40,000.

“InTouch is pleased to celebrate this way, partnering with our members to help our servicemen and women in uniform. We are so grateful that our members have continued to put their trust in us whether buying a car, refinancing a home over the past 40 years. The success we have achieved would not have been possible without our members, and we hope that giving back in this way honors and inspires them to get involved, too,” said Diane Gerstner, Executive Vice President of InTouch Credit Union.

Cell Phones for Soldiers has provided more than 204 million minutes of free talk time to servicemen and women stationed around the world over the last decade. On average, CPFS generates 30 minutes of talk time with each dollar they earn.