2018 Financial Education Honoree - Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union

Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union
2018 Financial Education Honoree

At Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union, financial education is more than a concept, idea, trending topic or buzzword; it is how we carry out our mission of helping members and our neighbors make smart financial choices every day. 

For 13 years, we’ve worked to develop innovative, experiential and age-specific learning programs that have educated and prepared thousands of people living in the communities we serve. Created in 2005, our Financial Education Department brings valuable lessons to schools, community centers, after-school programs, colleges and local service agencies. During the 2017-2018 school year alone, our team reached over 21,000 children, teens and adults.

We teach kids in elementary and middle school how to set savings goals, determine needs vs. wants and spend wisely, while we help teens and young adults understand credit, insurance, interviewing skills, and managing a budget. At the same time, we arm adults with the information they need to build and improve their credit, buy a home, understand estate planning, and to protect themselves from fraud and identity theft. We also offer free community workshops on credit, investing, first-time home buying and even couponing, which are taught by local financial professionals and our staff members. 

We understand the importance of learning sound financial habits early on, which is why we’ve established a particularly strong presence in local schools. 

Our three high school branches, located in Dracut High School, Lowell High School, and Nashua High School South, offer a semester-long, curriculum-based course for juniors and seniors that is applied toward their high school credits. The class serves a dual purpose: to provide students with hands-on experience working in the branches alongside seasoned Credit Union personnel; and to teach a wide array of financial topics, including credit, higher education, consumer protection, renting vs. owning and more. On average, students who complete the course show a 42% increase in financial understanding, while they gain work experience and employable skills.  For over 20 years, we’ve been partnering with parents of schoolchildren through our Save-At-School program. Parents can send their children to school with a bi-monthly savings deposit, and our enthusiastic team members visit the school to collect the deposit. Currently, we offer our Save-At-School program at 21 elementary and middle schools.

Our ‘MoneyStrong for Life Fair’ gives high school seniors a preview of their future financial responsibilities. During the reality fair, students role play themselves at age 25 with their chosen occupation, assigned income, debt and savings. They are required to make important decisions based on their financial situation, while building and sticking to their budget. Since 2011, more than 2,950 students have participated in our ‘MoneyStrong for Life Fair’.

In addition to our in-person learning opportunities, we offer convenient online resources. Our free, interactive financial wellness program, hosted on our website, MoneyStrong.org, takes users through 24 modules that each cover a specific financial topic. We also offer a blog, TheMoneyMill.com, which provides financial tips and educational information through narratives and relatable experiences.