Teaching life lessons with a piggybank

March 12, 2017 | GET MORE : Social Responsibility

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Every year hundreds of kids open their first savings account: a translucent blue pig with a U.S. Bank tattoo.

Teaching students about work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy is a core part of U.S. Bank’s Community Possible corporate social responsibility platform, which focuses the bank’s giving and volunteerism on creating opportunities for Work, Home and Play in its communities.

Last year, 1,900 U.S. Bank employees taught financial education by volunteering with Junior Achievement (JA). Those employees contributed more than 15,000 hours of service and reached 34,000 students across the nation. The bank also contributed more than $1.1 million to the organization last year.

JA took notice, honoring U.S. Bank this week with its Gold President’s Volunteer Service Award. The award was created by the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation, which President George W. Bush established in 2003 to recognize the valuable contributions volunteers make in communities and to encourage more people to serve. The award was accepted in New York by Joe Murphy, head of public and nonprofit finance in U.S. Bank’s wholesale banking division and a board member of Junior Achievement of New York – one of almost 40 U.S. Bank employees who serve on JA boards across the country.

Among the other 1,899 employees who volunteered with JA last year: Charles Beavers, an operations manager with U.S. Bank in Chicago. Financial education is a passion of his, a passion he regularly shares with students in the community through JA.

Beavers has been an active JA volunteer since he joined U.S. Bank in 2011. He loves bringing piggybanks to elementary schools and teaching students about the value of saving.

“The most rewarding part of volunteering with Junior Achievement is the students,” he says. “It’s wonderful to watch them learn the subject matter that you’re presenting. They are so fascinated when they realize a simple thing like a piggybank can be a savings tool. We teach students life lessons at a young age.”

Through the program, Charles also teaches high school students about potential careers in the banking industry. And he regularly encourages other U.S. Bank employees to get involved.

Students aren’t the only ones who benefit from JA. Being involved has changed Charles’ life, too.

“I learn something from each volunteer experience,” he says. “The students always teach me something – even the kindergartners. It’s really a two-way street, and that’s what I like about Junior Achievement. It’s your opportunity to positively impact someone’s life.”