Promoting financial education is one of VyStar’s largest initiatives, and we know how critical it is to begin that education early in life. When children are young, we have the opportunity to equip them with the tools they need to safely navigate our complex financial system. By teaching our youth the importance of saving, good credit, and the positive effects of sound money management, we can help them avoid many of the crippling effects that poor financial choices can have on their lives and their families. That is why one of VyStar’s greatest philanthropic efforts is to provide local youth with the opportunity to learn financial basics through our High School Credit Union Branch Program.
VyStar introduced this program in 2006. Since that time, our high school branches have brought financial education and the credit union difference to thousands of high school students throughout Northeast Florida. VyStar is fortunate to work with local school districts to provide high school students with hands-on, real-world experience that cannot be taught in the classroom. VyStar currently has several high school branches, the day-to-day operations of which are managed by a team of students under the supervision of our VyStar Academy of Business and Finance faculty.
The High School Credit Union Branch Program allows student managers to experience the inner workings of key financial services, like loans, credit cards, budgets and investment accounts. Not only do these students learn the importance of credit, how to properly use credit and how to save money, but they also serve as peer mentors, sharing the important lessons they learn with their fellow students. Through the program, student managers are able to build the marketable skills they need to enter the professional arena after high school. Many students who have participated in the program have even gone on to work for VyStar credit union after graduation. No matter what career paths our students choose, however, the skills they build in the High School Branch Program remain with them throughout their lives.
In 2019, VyStar reached 14,265 students with our financial training programs and almost 63,000 students since 2012. This highly successful career training program continues to expand with a strategic goal of opening up to two new high school branches per year.
As of 2020, there are a total of 17 High School Branches. Our High School Branch Program was recognized in February as the number one program in the nation (for our asset size) and consequently were awarded the prestigious Dejardins Youth Financial Education Award by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA).