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SEFCU’s Institute for Financial Well-Being Receives Statewide Award for Commitment to Financial Education for Youth



The New York Credit Union Association awarded SEFCU’s Institute for Financial Well-Being the Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award for credit unions with more than $1 billion in assets at its annual convention in June. The award is named for Alphonse Desjardins, an early leader in the credit union movement who helped found credit unions in the U.S. and Canada and who started youth savings clubs.

SEFCU’s Institute for Financial Well-Being provides free financial education to help participants achieve personal economic stability and financial independence, make sound financial decisions and build positive habits. Using proprietary workbooks, interactive workshops, and age-appropriate sessions, SEFCU provides hands-on instruction to help participants (including 4,290 youth to date) understand financial fundamentals.

The sessions provide answers to common financial questions, information about financial concepts and details about applying the concepts. Group discussions, case studies, problem-solving activities, and progressive learning strategies are also incorporated, as are pre- and post-assessments to gauge effectiveness.

“The Institute delivers programs that create meaningful impact, aimed at changing behaviors,” said Beth Coco, SEFCU’s chief financial well-being officer. “Learners relate to the subject matter that touches on their life experiences. Youth, especially, benefit from learning in the context of their life events.”

“We launched the Institute in the spring of 2017 with the hopes of making a difference in people’s lives when it comes to their understanding of fundamental financial concepts. Thanks to the anonymous data the Institute has been collecting, we can demonstrate the positive impact our programs are having,” Coco added.

“SEFCU has never seen itself as just a financial institution,” said President and CEO Michael J. Castellana. “We are and always will be an organization focused on making our communities better places to live. The Institute is a prime example of our how we are changing lives every day. We appreciate the recognition, but more importantly, we are gratified to see that our programs are making the difference we had hoped for,” he said.

The Institute’s program is aligned with New York State Learning Standards, Career and Occupational Studies, the National Standards in K-12 Personal Finance Education and the Common Core Learning Standards and national adult learning standards for adult financial literacy, making it unique among other financial education programs. SEFCU is working to make the Institute a national model for empowering people to develop financial independence and economic stability. Learn more at sefcu.com/financialeducation.

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