Googoplex In Education Deal With Children's Theater

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CUNA's online youth magazine, Googolplex, will come alive starting next fall as its content becomes subject matter for stage shows to teach middle school children about financial literacy.

The unique approach is the brainchild of the National Youth Involvement Board and the National Theatre for Children of Minneapolis. NTC, the largest in-school touring company in the United States, is developing a production called "Googolplex Goes to School" through which live stage performers will help kids understand basic money concepts, said Lin Standke, Manager of Youth Programs at CUNA.

"It's really a unique approach to engage kids through something fun and entertaining," Standke said. "And a great way for local credit unions to become more involved within their communities."

Local credit unions participate by purchasing the program for $3,500 and offering it to area schools. While the script is generic and does not address the differences between banks and CUs, it is only available to credit unions for sponsorship. The sponsoring CU will be used in all local promotions. CUs that already subscribe to Googolplex receive a $500 discount.

The investment includes KidzCredit Union software for schools to create their own in-school CU savings club, teacher guides with eight weeks of lesson plans and accompanying student workbooks, posters promoting financial literacy and a one-year subscription to Googolplex online.

"The intention obviously is to look at how you can teach savings early on so that as the kids grow up, they are fiscally responsible," Standke said. "We're very excited. We think it will help credit unions build future members."

She said the script-still in the preliminary stages-includes humor and improvisation directed toward sixth through ninth graders.

LeAnn Achtenberg, NYIB board chair and director of marketing and business development for Electrus FCU in Brooklyn Center, Minn., said she was immediately intrigued by the idea when first approached by NTC. NYIB is a volunteer-based group that promotes the value in financial literacy, youth services and leadership development in the credit union movement.

"National Theater for Children has been doing live theater performances in schools for 25 years using a variety of consumer advocacy topics," she said. "When they approached me about doing one about savings programs, I thought it would be a great way for credit unions to be involved with young people."

Achtenberg said studies have shown that education of products and services creates long-term loyalty of credit union members.

"And this is such a unique way to learn about money," she said. "Not only do they get the visual performance, we back it up in the classroom so they can learn more and put it into practice."

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