April is National Financial Literacy Month. Research has shown that American teens rank below half of their peers in other developed economies when it comes to financial literacy. Mentors can play an important role in helping young people develop and maintain healthy financial habits – habits that are essential to their future success.
MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership (MENTOR) has chosen to recognize those who have demonstrated a deep commitment to delivering critical connections to our nation’s young people in this way, to aid them in achieving success at home, school and ultimately in the workforce. This blog series focuses on individual and group commitments to youth mentoring and the powerful impact it has had for young people in real life.
An institution dedicated to strengthening the fabric of the communities it serves, Coastway Community Bank has been assisting Rhode Islanders with their financial needs for more than 90 years.
As part of the company’s commitment to doing the right things, the right way for local communities, nearly 95 percent of Coastway’s 140 employees are involved in community service and youth mentoring programs across the state. In fact, Jana Planka, EVP of Retail Banking, has spearheaded much of Coastway’s involvement in mentoring programs and has been a mentor with the bank for the past 21 years.
In partnership with local school-based mentoring programs, and with support from MENTOR’s affiliate, the Rhode Island Mentoring Partnership (RIMP), Coastway is investing in the success of students by providing them with the appropriate academic and social supports.
“Coastway’s commitment to mentoring, exemplified through the dedication of their employees, truly speaks to the value of investing in the whole community. By supporting youth in areas that are both education-focused and life-skills focused, they are helping facilitate changes that will have a ripple effect in their lives and the lives of those around them,” RIMP CEO Jo-Ann Schofield said.
To help young people develop and maintain healthy financial habits, Coastway has also developed a financial literacy curriculum. The materials cover basic banking topics, ranging from simple saving and budgeting strategies; to managing a checking account; to building and protecting personal credit; to preventing identity theft.
Recently, Coastway’s community development manager, Claudia Cardozo, and assistant branch manager, Jane Kratsch facilitated a financial literacy workshop for high school students using this newly developed curriculum. Students who participated in the workshop were almost exclusively from low-income communities, and would be relying heavily on student loans as they entered college.
“The content of [Coastway’s financial literacy workshop]… was presented in a very straightforward, transparent manner that led to a frank and open discussion about financial issues between Coastway staff and students. The workshop was certainly a big step in ensuring that our youth transition smoothly into economic adulthood,” Young Voices program coordinator, Phyllis Trelli said.
Coastway is equally supportive of the financial health of local mentoring programs and provides funding to local mentoring initiatives like the Cranston Mentoring program, a program of RIMP, and works closely with other organizations like the Warwick Boys & Girls Club and Inspiring Minds, Providence to help provide children facing adversity with the strong, supportive relationships necessary to succeed.
The company has been recognized as a member of MENTOR’s Corporate Mentoring Challenge Honor Roll since 2011 for their demonstrated commitment to quality youth mentoring.
9 million young people in America are in need of a trusted adult in their lives to guide them in moments big and small. Join the In Real Life movement and become an advocate, make a donation or become a volunteer.