For over three decades, Meredith Village Savings Bank (MVSB) has been working with local volunteers to provide the Save for America School Savings program to students at several school districts in the Lakes Region, including one of its longest standing school savings partners, Ashland Elementary School. At its heart, the School Savings program gives local students and their families a no barrier option for establishing and maintaining a child’s first savings account without needing to make a special trip to the bank – which can be a challenge for young families.
While MVSB maintains the accounts from a technical perspective, the program relies on volunteers from the Bank, the school and the community to work with students and parents to promote participation, get student’s and running with their accounts and to help them make deposits and track their savings. The volunteers work with the school to hold “bank days” on a weekly basis, where students can collect their account packets and make deposits right at school, and giveaways, contests and activities help to encourage involvement.
“I appreciate the continued partnership between Ashland Elementary School and Meredith Village Savings Bank, “ said Kelly Avery, Associate Principal, Ashland Elementary School. “We are able to offer our students participation in the Save for America School Savings initiative, which introduces our students to the banking process, all the while saving money.”
This year, many school districts did not allow outside volunteers on site to ensure the health and safety of their students. These necessary restrictions made it challenging for extracurricular programs like School Savings to take place as usual. But despite those limitations and challenges, the staff and volunteers at Ashland Elementary School, made it a priority to continue to allow students to do their Banking at school and adapted their processes to ensure students could safely participate.
The school’s secretary took the lead on accepting student deposits in the office and coordinated with parent volunteers, Deb Perdue and Kara O’Leary to have them picked up, tracked and delivered to the Bank. The school and its volunteers have so far conducted 24 school banking days in the 2020/21 school year and students have deposited over $2,373 in savings! Several students have also won prizes from School Savings for their involvement in their online financial education activities.
“We are glad we have been able to continue the school banking days, to keep continuity for the kids,” says Deb Perdue, parent volunteer, “It’s something they look forward to every week.”
“We are so proud of the hard work Ashland Elementary School’s staff, students, parents and volunteers have done to instill a savings mentality in children at such a young age,” said Cathleen Sleeper, Branch & Business Development Manager at MVSB. “Whether it’s a few dollars or a few cents, every week the volunteers go above and beyond to help encourage students and to celebrate their savings achievements.”
School Savings is the only savings program ever approved by the U.S. Department of Education for use in public and private schools. It has been implanted in more than 7,000 schools with more than 3.5 million participating students. To learn more about School Savings, visit https://ww2.schoolsavings.com/. Schools interested in participating in School Savings through Meredith Village Savings Bank can contact the Bank’s Program Coordinator, Cathleen Sleeper, at 800.922.6872.
Photo Caption: Left to Right: Cathy Sleeper (Branch and Business Development Manager, Meredith Village Savings Bank – Meredith Main Office), Jill White (Regional Vice President Branch Manager Meredith Village Savings Bank – Ashland), and Deb Perdue (Ashland Elementary School Parent volunteer for Save for America Program and Realtor with Elaine Hughes Realty Group LLC).