America Saves

America Saves Week 2014

America Saves Week 2013 Campaign Led by UConn Extension

America Saves logoAmerica Saves Week (ASW) is an opportunity individuals and families to assess and improve their own savings status as well as a special time for organizations to promote good savings behavior. Nationally, it is coordinated by the Consumer Federation of America and the American Savings Education Council. Started in 2007, thousands of organizations participate in the Week, reaching millions of people across the nation encouraging individuals and families to save money and build personal wealth.

Held February 25th through March 2nd of this year, the week included a Financial Education Expo sponsored by the Connecticut Department of Banking at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford; saving workshops for Hartford Job Corps students and HRA of New Britain program participants, and discussions with Naugatuck Head Start parents about savings goals. Dream boxes were decorated by participants with pictures representing their different savings goals. There was a drawing for personal finance books targeted to older teens and young adults. Participants had the opportunity to make a pledge to save money regularly for specific goals such as further education, an emergency fund, a car or a down payment on a home. Those making a pledge also were entered in drawings for grocery store gift cards. A mini-grant to support this project was provided by Bank of America. People’s Bank and Bank of America donated coloring books, financial information and other materials.

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UConn Extension launched its first campaign this year with the support of these partnering organizations: Connecticut Department of Banking; Connecticut Department of Labor; Hartford Job Corps; HRA of New Britain, Inc.; Naugatuck Head Start; New Haven County Extension Resource Council, Inc.; New Haven Free Public Library; People’s Bank and Bank of America Foundation.

Plans are being developed now for America Saves Week 2014 which will take place February 24th through March 1st.  Employers, financial institutions, businesses, colleges and schools, community and faith-based organizations and others are invited to learn more about how they can participate by contacting UConn Extension at 203.407.3160 or faye.griffiths-smith@uconn.edu .

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Connecticut Families and Finance

The America Saves Campaign will be launched by the University of Connecticut Cooperative Extension System this winter.  This is a social marketing campaign designed to encourage people to start or increase their saving.  The theme is:  “Set a goal.  Make a plan.  Save automatically.”  America Saves Week will take place February 25 through March 2, 2013; but the campaign will continue throughout the year.  Many people make a new year’s resolution to save more money. The America Saves Campaign offers many ideas on ways people can improve their financial situation.  Educational workshops, webinars, and online resources, as well as printed and other resources, are available to help savers stay motivated. Anyone interested can sign up as an individual at http://www.americasaves.org/

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The Welcome to the Real World, Connecticut Edition Simulation reached teens and young adults in several communities this past year.  This program, adapted from the University of Illinois Extension, gives young people the opportunity to imagine themselves as working adults in the occupations of their choice, making decisions about how to manage their finances.  They open checking and savings accounts, visit tables representing different expense categories staffed by volunteers, and learn to live within their incomes.  Participants also must draw a chance card which outlines an event that may add to or subtract from their income.  Some of the program participants have included: approximately 500 students at Platt and Maloney High Schools in Meriden, student interns at Pratt and Whitney and the Department of Transportation, and community agencies in New Britain, Bridgeport, and New Haven.

The Credit Jeopardy workshop was a part of Junior Achievement’s Financial Literacy Day at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU).  Faye Griffiths-Smith served as lead judge for the Connecticut LifeSmarts State Competition.  LifeSmarts teaches teens to be smart and responsible consumers and citizens by focusing on five key areas of consumer knowledge that teens need to know to function effectively in today’s marketplace: Personal Finance, Consumer Rights and Responsibilities, Health and Safety, Technology and the Environment.  This quiz bowl competition was also conducted at CCSU.  Ms. Griffiths-Smith presented a talk on “Financial Literacy for Social Workers” at Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU).  She also serves on the executive board of Connecticut JumpStart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy and chairs the Family Economics and Resource Management Community of the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences.

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For more information about any of these programs, contact Faye Griffiths-Smith at faye.griffiths-smith@uconn.edu or 203.407.3160.  You can also follow us on Twitter @CT Families&Finances.