What is more exciting to a child than Christmas morning? Waking up, knowing there are presents under the tree is almost too enticing for even the biggest kid in the family.
In our Launch Pad after school program for elementary school students, we have a money and banking program that makes Christmas an even more exciting event for our students—they get the opportunity to buy presents for their family as well!
The program runs all year long and has different aspects to it, but one of our favorites is that the children get to share their hard work all year long by spending their Launch Pad bucks on Christmas presents for their family members. (If you haven’t done so yet, read our post about empowerment that explains our Christmas Store program for the parents.)
Take it to the bank!
During the school year, the Launch Pad students are given an opportunity to earn 10-15 Launch Pad bucks per day. They save this money up until our banker comes to visit.
On bank days, the students use their checkbooks and deposit slips to make and record a deposit. We encourage the kids to save at least 10% and share another 10%. The rest they may put in their spending or checking account to use on store day.
Then the next program day the students get a chance to visit our store. Our store is stocked with new and gently used donations. The kids then may choose items they would like to purchase with the money they have available in their checking account.
The store includes some high priced items such as bikes and sports equipment that help the kids learn to save up for something special. This encourages them to make decisions based on what they really want and then follow through with their savings plan.
We also have a super shop day where the kids may use money from their savings account. After super shop days they earn interest on what they leave in their savings account. This gives the kids an incentive to save their money and allow it to earn money for them.
What do the kids have to say about it?
One of our former Launch Pad students, Charlie, says his favorite part of Launch Pad was the arts and crafts, but he says he also learned a lot about money.
“I learned how to save and share money, and how to spend it in the future,” says Charlie. “It helped me learn how to spend money and be responsible with it.”
Another student, Isaac, says that he learned to be responsible. “I learned that there are different accounts such as savings, sharing, and spending,” says Isaac. “The more money you save, the more things you can buy!”
Alex, who loves going to the park at Launch Pad and learning about Jesus, also found that learning about money at Launch Pad helped him with his math at school!
And Lizbeth has this to say about the money management program: “I learned that you need to save up money to be able to go to different places and buy yourself things. It (the program) has helped me save up money and manage it better.”
Practice makes perfect.
Well, maybe these kids won’t always make perfect money choices, but we have already seen it making an impact on our students. Here is just one example:
One year we noticed that all middle school summer camp participants who had been through our Launch Pad program took the time to ration out their $20 allowance and made it last the whole week. They were able to purchase snacks throughout the week and even had some left at the end of the week for a souvenir. This was a definite contrast to our other campers that did not attend Launch Pad. They ran out of money within the first few days of camp.
Making little changes and little investments like the Launch Pad banking program can provide huge returns in the future for our kids!