The Texas Credit Union Foundation (TCUF) has expanded its outreach to Central America through a recent "train the trainer" session to help teach financial literacy in Belize.
Courtney Nickles, foundation executive director, recently presented the National Endowment for Financial Education High School Financial Planning Program, a financial literacy program aimed at high school-aged students, to educators, credit union staff and community leaders in Belize. The Belize Credit Union League has a partnership with Southwest Corporate FCU in Plano, Texas (LoneStar Leaguer Oct. 20).
During the session, Nickles gave classroom-style presentations and had interactive role-playing activities to help students relate to their materials.
"We can see how our partnership with the foundation will facilitate a wide cross-section of credit union members and high school students to learn fundamental financial management skills, which will allow them to make informed financial decisions from an early age," said Corinne Fuller, Belize league executive director. "We are excited about the possibility of including financial planning in our high school core curriculum."
The Ministry of Education in Belize also attended the presentation.
"We at the Ministry of Education believe that financial education should definitely be included in the curriculum if we are truly educating our students to take care of themselves, as well as to participate in nation building," said Carol Babb, Ministry of Education deputy chief education officer. "We intend to integrate this topic in the social studies curriculum."
Belize has the highest literacy race in Latin America, but the country is plagued with poverty and unemployment, said Victor Miguel Corro, World Council of Credit Unions senior manager of international partnerships.
"Providing the people of Belize with the tools to make better choices with their money, coupled with access to affordable financial services, remains essential to improving the quality of life in the country," Corro said.
Nickles noted that the presentation was an emotional experience, and the participants were incredibly appreciative.
"The luxury of accessible information we are afforded allows us to be aware of the basic fundamentals of financial information, but only when you see the genuine appreciation and comprehension of those individuals who have never learned something we take for granted, like how to balance their checkbook, do you realize how fortunate we are," Nickles said.