Deposit Day will help kids prepare for future. 

November 3, 2021

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Deposit Day will help kids prepare for future. 

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

The Community Foundation for Mason County’s KickStart to Career program will hold its first Deposit Day of the current school year for area kindergartener, first and second graders on Wednesday, Nov. 10. Flyers and deposit envelopes have been sent home with each child this week.

Beginning in 2019, at the start of each school year, every kindergartner in Mason County received an education savings account, each seeded with $50 donated by the John and Anita Wilson Family Fund held within the foundation. The accounts are deposit only, and withdrawals are restricted to post-secondary education expenses, including traditional college/university degrees, as well as other types of career training or education including skilled trades professions. Students can earn additional contributions throughout their K-12 school years through Deposit Days held in their classrooms.

Participating schools include Covenant Christian School, Ludington Area Catholic School,  Ludington Area Schools, Mason County Central and Mason County Eastern.

During Deposit Days, staff from the foundation, West Shore Bank and Safe Harbor Credit Union provide a brief financial planning education program for the students at every school and accept money children have saved in their piggy banks provided to them at the start of their Kindergarten year. While most deposits take place in the classroom, MCC students hold a field trip planned and will bring their money to the Scottville branch of West Shore Bank.

“Research shows us the significant impact this kind of financial investment has on students’ lives,” said Andrea Large, executive director of the foundation. “Our goal with this program is to close the post-secondary education gap for students in Mason County by encouraging families to save, increase financial education, and instill strong financial practices at an early age to help families plan for their children’s future. Most importantly, we hope it fosters hope and builds aspirations of children and their families around careers and higher education. We are so thankful to John and Anita Wilson for their generosity in helping to make this happen for our kids.”

“Every penny counts toward building dreams, and we ask parents to work with their children to bring in any amount on Deposit Day to encourage their children to save and earn funds,” said K2C Coordinator Julie Van Dyke. Research shows that low income students with savings of $1 to $500 are three times more likely to enroll and four times more likely to complete post-secondary education compared to their peers without savings. 

“Thisexperience is the first of multiple opportunities throughout the child’s K-12 career to donate to and earn incentive dollars for their account,” VandDyke said.

Parents and the community are encouraged to support the program in addition to Deposit Day. Parents can support their children by making contributions any time to their child’s KickStart to Career account at any West Shore Bank branch. Family members, friends and community members also can donate to a child’s account. At the branch, donors must identify that they are contributing to the account in the K2C program, which is a pooled account held in the name of the Community Foundation for Mason County.

Businesses also can participate as a classroom sponsor. Grade sponsors are needed each year to continue incentives on Deposit Days. Currently, West Shore Bank sponsors the kindergarten class each year, Lake Michigan CPA Services sponsors first graders and the Scottville Optimist Club sponsors all second grade students.  Next year, another cohort of kindergarten students will be added and there will be a need for a third grade sponsor, VanDyke said.

Program partners of the CFFMC to create the countywide K2C program include many foundation fund holders, Mason County Promise, West Shore Educational Service District, Mason County school districts, West Shore Bank and Safe Harbor Credit Union. 

For more information visit the program’s Facebook page here or website here.  Coordinator Julie Van Dyke may be contacted at any time, or 231-233-6867.

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