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A Gift Like No Other

Posted by
October 4, 2021

On Friday, 42 kindergartners enrolled at RCES this fall got something no others in Virginia have: a personal MyFuture savings account! Each received a piggy bank with a special $100 bill, but the real money is held for them at Oak View National Bank. FamilyFutures, a local nonprofit focused on financial education for children and adults, annually opens accounts for all new kindergartners. This is the third class, for a total of 176 account holders .The students can earn up to $100 more this year and every year until they graduate.

The students learn and earn through in-school activities with their teachers and with Jenny Kapsa, the Family Financial Education Coordinator, and Lacey Jenkins, program assistant. Parents can help their children earn new deposits as well by starting their own savings or checking their credit. When Covid closed the schools, Kapsa sent materials home so students could stay on track.

In each of the four kindergarten classrooms, Kapsa held a small celebration that included exchanges about the children’s plans after they graduate. Responses ranged from becoming an astronaut, teacher, or police officer to driving a motorcycle and going to Hawaii.

Having up to $1400—plus interest—to jump start their post high school lives is not just about the money. Individual and foundation supporters are investing in these children with a broader purpose.

FamilyFutures board member, Jane Eberhardt, says, “MyFuture accounts are a tangible tool to help the young people in this county learn about personal finances, as well as a way to practice important life skills, such as goal setting and making informed choices. 

As with their current ambitions, students combine the silly and the serious in thinking about their futures. Kapsa asked what they would need to know when they graduate. Their answers often reflect Eberhardt’s point. One said, “how to work.” Another said, “put money in the bank because if you spend it, then you don’t have anything.”

Other skills important to the students include tieing their shoes, making soup and working on machinery. Reflecting the season, one said it’s important to know how to make scarecrows.

Kapsa showed the students “bingo” cards where stars will track completion of each task to earn more deposits. Tasks include knowing all their sight words and good behavior, as well as a variety of exercises with money and imagining their futures. Parents and other adults can participate in workshops or request free confidential financial coaching to earn deposits for their students. From kindergarten through graduation, teachers and other school staff will identify ways to grow financial knowledge and essential personal skills that align with state mandates for college and career exploration.

Teachers are enthusiastic about MyFuture programming. Melissa Jenkins, a new RCES kindergarten teacher who lives in Madison, said she and her husband were amazed by MyFuture and wished there was something similar in Madison. “It’s important that the child has goals, not just something the teacher dictates,” said Jenkins. Her comment speaks again to the essential purpose of the savings accounts and related activities.

Eberhardt explains, “By the time these kindergarteners graduate from high school, we hope they will have not only a bit of money set aside, but more importantly a deeper understanding of how money works. We think working with these accounts can give students lots of chances to practice setting goals, making plans, and delaying gratification- important skills for life.”

Jason Brady, Oak View vice president for Rappahannck, and Jennifer Knighting, Oak View senior vice president and director of marketing helped to pass out the piggy banks. The students took home goody bags with Information for their parents on the accounts and other MyFuture opportunities. New accounts were also opened for a handful of first and second graders who were not enrolled at RCES as kindergartners. For more information about MyFuture, contact Jenny Kapsa: jkapsa@rappahannockschools.us; or Anne Yeoman: director@familyfuturesva.org; www.familyfuturesva.org.

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Mail checks to: Family Futures, Box 570, Sperryville, VA 22740

FamilyFutures is a tax exempt charity under Section 501(c)3.  
Gifts are fully deductible as allowed by law.  Please consult your tax adviser.

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