Teaching children to save through Piggy Bank

Living paycheck to paycheck is a reality for most families—but there is good news on the horizon. It begins with children learning how to save while they are young.

United Way’s Young Philanthropists Society spearheaded the creation of the Piggy Bank program to inspire children, grades K-5, to save through a fun, hands-on interactive program allowing them to save their earnings in a real-life bank at their school.

YPS opened the first Piggy Bank three years ago at Walter Bracken STEAM Academy and opened the second bank at Howard E. Hollingsworth Elementary School in January.

A collaboration between YPS, Silver State Schools Credit Union and Andson Inc., the Piggy Bank helps children learn the importance of saving for necessities like education, transportation, clothing, health care and housing. Every deposit day, children line up, fill out deposit slips and keep track of their savings.

FikreabeDeeply rooted in the culture of Walter Bracken STEAM Academy, the Piggy Bank program is thriving in its third year of operation. Students at Bracken have already saved over $29,000 since the beginning of the school year. With school-wide participation at an impressive 89 percent, one Bracken student named Fikreabe has had 100 percent participation and has already saved $7,043.

“I am saving for college so I can become a doctor!” said Fikreabe. “About every month, we learn about needs, wants and budgets. If you want a regular phone, that could be a need, but if you want a new iPhone 6, that could be a want.”

The children of Hollingsworth Elementary have already saved over $3,800 with nearly 50 percent school-wide participation in the program. Interestingly, the younger students appear to be the biggest savers, with second and third grade having the highest participation rates of all.

“We value the partnership with United Way of Southern Nevada, United Way’s community partners and volunteers who created an interactive learning area for the students, elevating the level of education students receive at Hollingsworth Elementary,” said Dr. Shaun Cochran Hall, principal, Howard E. Hollingsworth Elementary School. “A lot of dedication went into creating the Piggy Bank, and we are thankful to all the volunteers who brought the program to fruition.”

The Piggy Bank isn’t just about saving. It’s also about learning why it’s important to save. The program includes integrated financial literacy curriculum that children discuss with their parents and caregivers around such topics as budgeting, money and savings. Together, families are learning what it takes to run a household, how to save for a rainy day, prepare for the future and have financial independence.

To learn more about the Piggy Bank program or United Way’s Young Philanthropists Society, visit uwsn.org.