Students from Toll Gate High School recently participated in a CU4 Reality Financial Literacy Fair, which encouraged students to apply the knowledge they gained during the school year to manage their personal finances and budgeting.
During the fair, sponsored by Wave Federal Credit Union and held last month at the Radisson Hotel Providence Airport, students interacted with Wave representatives, along with 12 area businesses, as consumers with a career and a monthly salary.
They experienced firsthand the realities of making ends meet monthly for expenses such as food, clothing, housing, utilities, transportation and other consumer needs. As a result, they gained a better understanding of the importance of making wise financial decisions.
“One student said it was a smack in the face with reality,” said Toll Gate business teacher, Laurie Mockler, who attended the event alongside students, as well as her fellow teacher, Danielle Carpenter. “They were putting the real world to personal finance.”
Paul Archambault, president and CEO of Wave, said he is thrilled the credit union was able to help students learn in a hands-on capacity.
“Sometimes schools concentrate on meeting all the standard testing requirements, and I think reality has gotten lost,” he said. “This program brings life situations to them. They learned about doing savings, loans, investments, picking a career and learning how to make a budget.”
In a press release, he said, the success of the program was a product of the collaboration between Toll Gate’s administrators, teachers and the credit union. He was pleased to see the drive and motivation of students, too.
“This mutually beneficial business partnership is helping to meet a critical need for these high school students,” he said in the release. “I have been impressed by the students’ interest to advance their knowledge of banking products and services and, most importantly, their desire to develop an understanding of financial responsibility and good money management practices.”
Also, Mayor Scott Avedisian attended the fair and presented a proclamation to Wave Federal Credit Union and Toll Gate High School designating March 21 Toll Gate High School Financial Literacy Day in Warwick.
Wave established the partnership with Toll Gate and Winman Junior High School and implemented the program during the 2011 to 2012 academic school year. It was developed by the Financial Literacy Education Committee of America’s Credit Union Museum in association with the New Hampshire Credit Union League.
During the school year, Wave representatives made presentations to Toll Gate and Winman covering subjects including careers, financial planning, budgeting and others.
Participating businesses included Premiere Homes Realty, LLC; Vient Insurance Agency; Integrated Financial Partners; Elmwood Dodge; Best Buy; Stop & Shop; Money Management International; Donovan Travel; and The Wave Salon.
Founded in 1938 as Narragansett Electric Employees Federal Credit Union, Wave Federal Credit Union has offices in Warwick, Westerly and Pawtucket, assets in excess of $114 million and nearly 8,500 members. Under its community charter, the Credit Union serves individuals and businesses located in Providence, Warwick, Pawtucket, Cranston, East Greenwich, North Kingstown, South Kingstown, West Greenwich, West Warwick, Westerly, Charlestown and Coventry.