10/30/05 — 'Life Savers Program' teaches students importance of saving

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'Life Savers Program' teaches students importance of saving

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on October 30, 2005 2:06 AM


Fifth grade teachers at Tommy's Road Elementary School are banking on a program designed to teach students about the importance of saving for the future.

The "Life Savers Program," launched last year through a grant, was so successful that several area banks contacted the school about becoming involved this year, said Cathie Hooks, a fifth grade teacher at the school.

"We were unable to get a grant this year," she said. "But KS Bank came through to help us and waived the minimum deposits so students can open an account with as little as $1.50."

Parents and students attended a savings social on Thursday evening to learn more about the program and sign up for a savings account.

"It's never too early to start learning how to manage your money," Mrs. Hooks told the audience.

She said students will have opportunities throughout the coming months to work toward building up the account. "Market Day" will be held in January for students to set up booths to sell items of their choosing.

All that is asked is that students keep the money in the bank until the end of the year, Mrs. Hooks said. Funds can be used for the annual fifth grade trip to Washington, D.C. or saved for individual college accounts.

The biggest dividend will be what students take away from the experience, she said.

"The idea is that the word 'earn' is inside the big word 'learn,'" she said.

While the effort will teach students about economics and saving money, it also promotes other life lessons, Mrs. Hooks said.

"We're trying to break the feeling of 'entitlement' and build a more goal-oriented and less 'stuff-oriented' way of thinking," she said, with the hope that it will "empower them to see the power within themselves and making their own destinies.

"We're trying to enable them to be independent providers and future consumers."

Iris Durham was there to enroll her daughter, fifth-grader Dalila.

Dalila said she was interested in saving money for the March trip to D.C. She already has a savings account but wants to raise money to put into the school account.

"She has already been collecting items for her booth" for Market Day, her mother said. Dalila said she plans to sell jewelry and handbags.

Mrs. Durham said the program is not only educational but motivational for students.

"It's something that children need," she said. "It's got to start now. This is the best age to teach them the value of money and savings."