COLLEGE STATION – Texas AgriLife Extension Service has joined with state and federal financial policy, consumer credit and banking organization partners to bring the Young Texas Saves initiative to youth statewide through its Texas 4-H program.
“Young Texas Saves is a community-based effort to empower youth to increase saving and become more financially capable,” said Angela McCorkle, an AgriLife Extension program specialist in family development and resource management in College Station. “Through Young Texas Saves, young people are challenged to take the first step in reaching their financial goals by making a savings commitment.”
She said financial literacy and financial management are not just adult issues, and efforts through Texas 4-H will be targeted at helping young people develop good savings habits to serve them for a lifetime.
McCorkle said the Texas program was developed in conjunction with the Young America Saves component of America Saves, a national initiative led by the Consumer Federation of America involving more than 1,000 non-profit, government and corporate groups. Statewide activities through Young Texas Saves will help support the national Young America Saves initiative, which includes Young America Saves Week, Feb. 19-26.
“In the month of February, every 4-H club in Texas is challenged to present the program at their monthly meeting,” said Dr. Chris Boleman, 4-H and youth development program director. “The materials include a short presentation with real-life examples of the impact of saving and investing at a young age, handouts for members and parents, and tips on saving and investing. It provides 4-H members the opportunity to create a savings goal and commit to making that goal happen.”
Texas 4-H has a current statewide club membership of 62,765 with more than 662,000 youth involved in 4-H programs or activities throughout Texas, Boleman said.
“Compared to most other countries, the U.S. has one of the lowest personal savings rates in the world, as well as a huge amount of debt,” McCorkle said. “Our own recent financial crisis, as well as the ongoing financial crisis in Europe and elsewhere, demonstrates the global importance of financial stability and responsibility.
“In supporting Young Texas Saves, 4-H members can help themselves and others learn greater financial responsibility, become more financially capable and help prepare a positive foundation for their own financial future.”
AgriLife Extension has partnered with The Center for Public Policy Priorities through the Opportunity Texas initiative, Texas Banking, the Office of the Consumer Credit Commissioner and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to support the Texas Saves program.
“While Texas Saves focuses on an adult audience, Young Texas Saves will focus on youth 13-19 years old,” McCorkle said.
McCorkle said to help Texas 4-H members in that age range help support the Young America Saves initiative and Young America Saves Week, the AgriLife Extension family and consumer sciences department has developed or shared several initiative resources that may be accessed at http://fcs.tamu.edu/money/youth/young-texas-saves.php.
“We have developed resources that could be used with a youth audience and we have decided to focus this year on Texas 4-H youth,” she said. “Next year we are hoping to expand to include other youth organizations and schools.”
Materials available on the site include a resource kit, Young America Saves talking points and frequently asked questions, sample letters, a sample motivational workshop, and a press release and radio spots.
“The theme of this year’s Young America Saves Week is ‘Motivate! Act! Commit!,’” McCorkle said. “We’re hoping to inspire our 4-H’ers to become involved in financial education and presentations that will motivate them and other youth to act and commit to either saving or creating some type of wealth-building account.”
Boleman said 4-H members participating in Young Texas Saves will gain insights into savings and investment strategies, budgeting, the proper use of credit and other aspects of money management.
“Through national, state, regional, local and community campaigns related to the America Saves initiative, more than 220,000 adults and youth have already committed to saving money or reducing debt,” he said. “We want our Texas 4-H members to join other Texas youth who are making a difference with their money by supporting this program and enrolling as ‘savers’ on the Young America Saves website.”
The Young America Saves website is http://www.americasaves.org/youth
For more information on Young Texas Saves, contact McCorkle at 979-845-3850 or firstname.lastname@example.org