Purdue Federal Credit Union helps Region students get ready for life with finance 101

Purdue Federal Credit Union helps Region students get ready for life with finance 101
By: Sarah DeMars Last Updated: March 28, 2020

Editor’s note: While Purdue Federal Credit Union is not physically attending class sessions, their support in this area is helping local teachers create meaningful e-learning lesson plans during this difficult time when school is not in session. We applaud Purdue Federal Credit Union and the schools that are working together to keep our students engaged and learning!

The sooner students become financially savvy, the better. Purdue Federal Credit Union (Purdue Federal) makes learning about finances fun and productive for Region students.

“We go into classrooms and basically teach elementary, middle, and high school students [about] adulting finance 101,” said Leah Gutierrez, a financial counselor with Purdue Federal . “Some instructors can afford to teach financial literacy, and some cannot. That's where we come in. We can help fill in the gaps with real world financial expertise.”

Purdue Federal helps its partner schools teach finance by sponsoring the Bonzai learning tool. Banzai is an online tool students can use to learn basic accounting and finance in the comfort of their classrooms. Teachers can also order packets of material. Purdue Federal works alongside teachers to create a custom lesson depending on the topics the students need before heading into young-adult life.

“Some of our more popular lessons include talking about personal credit, credit cards, student loans, and future big purposes such as a car,” Gutierrez said.

Lessons are designed to meet the students at whatever learning level they’re in, while instilling a solid base-level understanding of adult-life financial concepts.

“We introduce topics such as saving and budgeting to the younger students and help them really absorb these ideas through games,” said Gutierrez. “One of their favorites is called balancing act. Similar to the game ‘Life’, students go through different life stages and have to budget during expensive life occurrences such as a hospital visit or vacation. Then they see how these situations affect their life and budget.”

Angie LaRocco, a business and career/technical education teacher at La Porte High School, uses the Banzai program for her personal finance class in grades 10, 11, 12, and for seniors in the work-study class. The progressive learning options for the program are useful.

“At the beginning of the year, I have the students do the teen version before we get into any lessons on budgeting and overall finance management,” she said. “With school closure, I just assigned these two classes the Banzai Plus assignment, as it helps them practice more scenario situations and they get to make choices. It is a great supplement to what we do in the classroom.”

Some of the other schools that have prospered from the Purdue Federal’sfinancial wellness programs include La Porte Middle School, and New Prairie High School. Purdue Federal’s Monroe St. Branch in La Porte has been working with the La Porte Community School Corporation for the past five years and its newest branch located in Crown Point will be supporting Crown Point Community Schools. It’s not only about having a positive effect on students, but also the whole community.

“Of course, we want our members to become stronger players in the finance field,” Gutierrez said. “But it’s even more important for all members of our community to become more knowledgeable in all financial aspects.”

Teachers in the Crown Point School Corporation are encouraged to reach out to Purdue Federal to explore financial learning opportunities for their classes.

For more information about Purdue Federal Credit Union and its programs, including Banzai, you can visit https://www.purduefed.com/financialwellness.