As we all know, teaching children the difference between wants and needs, especially when it comes to finances, is a very valuable lesson that starts early in their lives. Informing children on what it means to exchange currency for goods at a young age is a sure way to help prepare them for future financial stability. When families come to the YWCA for assistance, they are often times financially unstable and do not have the resources or help to become stable or show their children how to be. Last week, PNC Bank held a press conference at the YWCA Child Development center to announce their giving of a two-year $75,000 grant from the PNC Foundation to teach area children lessons in spending, sharing and saving, and equip parents with the resources they need to reinforce these lessons at home. PNC provided the funding in support of Grow Up Great, its bilingual program in early childhood education. This grant will help the YWCA further educate its children, parents and teachers with the knowledge they need to overcome and prevent experiences of homelessness and domestic violence.
Senior Director of Child Care Services, Delyne Hicks pointed out, “If children don’t know how to read, we teach them. If they don’t know how to ride a bike, we teach them. But where do they get their ideas about money?” Hicks suggests that learning about money and spending is just as crucial for young children as learning to read. We do not rely on external influences to shape a child’s reading skills, so it may be just as important that teachers and parents are the ones to also teach them about spending and saving money.
The financial education program is designed to reach 260 children and families per year in the metro Birmingham area. It will include community “finance fairs” as part of Money Smart Week in April, free books, family nights, and age-appropriate activities that will help parents and caregivers reinforce the concepts of saving, spending and sharing.
“Investment in high-quality early childhood education is an essential part of Alabama’s strategy to create a more competitive workforce for the long-term economic health of our region,” said Jim Hansen, PNC regional president. “The YWCA’s leadership and expertise in addressing these issues allows PNC to bring our resources and philanthropic focus to life in a meaningful way for the children and families of Alabama.”
With the grant from PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., the YWCA will offer children’s activities, games and parent education workshops. The instruction will be based on the lessons included in “For Me, for You, for Later: First Steps to Spending, Sharing and Saving,” a multi-media, bilingual, financial education activity kit that Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street, created for PNC as part of a continuing partnership in early education.
Not forgetting that this press conference was about improving the quality of life for our children and allowing them to have a little fun, our Pre-K participants hosted the “YWCA Kids’ Café” during the event. Attendees of the press conference were given “YWCA bucks,” a for-fun currency made special for the event, to “spend” on refreshments provided by the children in our child care facilities. The children also received a special visit from Sesame Street™ character Rosita, thanks to PNC.
“Through this grant from PNC, we can reach children in central Alabama at an early age and help establish smart habits that will last a lifetime,” said Suzanne Durham, YWCA Central Alabama CEO.
A big YW thank you goes out to PNC for their investment in our children’s futures.
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