by Cori Hilsgen
A free “Treasure My Future” financial literacy and life-skills conference for students will take place from 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, April 22 at the Gorecki Center, located on the College of St. Benedict campus in St. Joseph.
The conference is for students in fifth through 12th grades. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.
Presenters at the event include local professionals, who work with these topics daily and see financial problems many adults are experiencing because they don’t know the basics of financial literacy. Presenters and their topics for fifth- through eighth-graders include:
- Leslie Lane, Central Minnesota Credit Union: identity theft and fraud
- Jessica Filiaggi, Great River Federal Credit Union: budgets, saving, spending, giving
- April Mastey, Mastey Financial Group, LLC: investments
- Kristin Hannon, Minnwest Bank: responsible money management
Presenters and topics for ninth- through 12th-graders include.
- Ryan Holter and Stacey Seviola, Conway, Deuth and Schmiesing, PLLP: filling out forms for your first job and decoding your paychecks
- Mark Douvier, St. Cloud Federal Credit Union: student loans and financing your education
- John Fuchs and Lindsey Schleif, Miller Auto and Marine: 401(k) and investing in your future
- Bethany Schwinghammer and Nouphay Colberg, Plaza Park Bank: tips to prevent identity theft
By bringing real-life examples to the students, presenters hope to educate the students about financial literacy and life skills. Students will learn money-management and financial-awareness skills through fun and educational programs that incorporate the much-needed life skills and wisdom to help them build successful financial futures.
This is the second conference Chris Panek, creator of Financial Adventure, has organized. Panek, a certified public accountant, has more than 20 years of experience.
The Financial Adventure program, a membership-based financial-literacy program for children ages 5-18, was developed by Panek to help kids learn hands-on and real-life financial skills. The program incorporates financial information from normal day-to-day lives and simplifies it for children so they are able to learn from financial activities.
Panek said she surveyed local professionals to see if they felt there was a need for a financial-literacy conference. She said she received great feedback and decided to plan the first free Treasure My Future financial literacy and life-skills conference last year in April, since April is financial literacy month.
Last year’s event was held at Resource Training and Solutions in Sartell. About 70 people from Sartell, Albany, Cold Spring, Holdingford, Melrose, Pierz, Royalton, St. Cloud, Sauk Centre and Sauk Rapids attended the event. They included home-schooled students.
Each conference follows the core mission which includes enhancing youth financial literacy, supporting the Jump$tart National Standards for K-12 Personal Finance Education, making learning financial and life skills engaging and fun for students, bringing knowledge and real-life experiences from local professionals to the students, helping students learn to be more responsible with their financial choices and investing in the financial future of our youth.
Panek said many area teachers are giving extra credit if their students attend the conference. She said she feels this is a great idea since financial literacy is often not taught in schools.
Panek said financial topics can be tough for many adults and often result in little or no conversations with children, but the conference is a great place to learn about and spark important conversations.
The conference will be held on the second level of the Gorecki Center. Free parking is available in Lot 5 located across the street from the center, and additional parking is available in Lots 6, 8 and 10.
To register for this year’s conference, visit www.treasuremyfuture.com. The first 75 students in each age group (fifth to eighth grades and freshmen to senior) to register online will receive a gift at the conference. Adults are able to attend with their children but must register online under the Adult Admission.
Hilsgen is a contributing reporter for the Newsleaders. The central Minnesota native is a wife, mother and grandmother. She has a Bachelor's degree in Organizational Management and Communication from Concordia University – St. Paul, MN and enjoys learning about and sharing other people's stories through the pages of the Newsleaders.