'Bright Start' Programme Preparing Pupils For The Future
On July 7, International Co-Operatives Day, the Bank Employees' Credit Union (BECU) hosted "Bright Start" at the Hotel Normandie. The programme was an initiative of the Education Committee of the BECU, to continue the work of the Credit Union in delivering Financial Literacy workshops targeted to youths between the ages of 12 – 17. Also in attendance was Shemiah Grant, who placed second overall in the country at the 2012 SEA examination. Shemiah is the daughter of former BECU Board and Education Committee Member, Allison Joseph-Grant and proudly received a Kindle along with shares in the Credit Union to start her off on her journey towards financial independence and success.
This session focused on students who recently wrote SEA or CXC examinations; however, the BECU launched its financial literacy programme in 2010 and delivered it to several pupils within three secondary schools. The BECU also undertook to extend its bond in 2011 in order to facilitate students who successfully complete the financial literacy training to be eligible for membership in the Credit Union. Bright Start included a presentation on entrepreneurship from NEDCO, an overview about the importance of co-operative societies in this International Year of Co-operatives and a dramatical presentation by the Idakeda Group. The participants were awarded with share certificates, gifts and certificates of participation and were invited to become members of the BECU and to embrace their future financial success.
Member Services Representative at the BECU, Monifa Karamoko-Farrel was the Master of Ceremonies, who enthusiastically welcomed guests and introduced the presenters. The format commenced with a presentation from NEDCO's Hazel Hospedales-Julien, who provided an overview about entrepreneurship and how to turn dreams into viable businesses. She discussed the key characteristics that entrepreneurs should possess including leadership, being a team player, a risk taker, passionate, confident and in control. She then followed with a breakdown of the What, Who (with), Where, Why and When of new business establishment. Her presentation ended with a lively questions and answer session, which was testimony to the fact that she had ignited the passion of the young entrepreneurs in the audience.
In creating its proprietary Financial Literacy Programme, the BECU partnered and invested with the Idakeda Group to develop content that would send positive and specific messages to the youth regarding life choices and the importance of money. The Idakeda Group presented a dramatical interactive piece highlighting the challenges and triumphs of a young man trying to find his way in the world and thus become financially secure, penned by Eintou Pearl Springer. The presentation helps youths to understand themselves better by delivering key messages to motivate them to find their ambition, plan for their future, respect themselves and understand the importance of savings.
On the heels of the Idakeda Group was Dav-Ernan Kowlessar, Management Consultant at the BECU, who provided a brief overview of the Credit Union movement and the BECU specifically. He noted that the United Nations declared 2012 as the International Year of Co-operatives (IYC) and that the Bright Start session was being staged on the International Day of Co-operatives (July 7). Given the forward thinking and technology driven focus of the BECU and denoted by its tag line "Embracing the Future", the BECU opted to commemorate IYC by celebrating the achievements of and educating the future leaders of our country with Bright Start.
President of the BECU, Kevin Sebro, along with members of the Education Committee and BECU team members presented the participants with certificates of participation, $100 in BECU share certificates and gifts of stationery. Prizes were also awarded to youths who successfully answered questions about the presentations and special prizes were awarded to SEA pupils in attendance.
Over 30 youths participated, who having attended the seminar will be eligible to become members of the credit union to kick start good savings and investment habits that will serve them in good stead as they journey through life. The aim of the BECU is to help youths prepare for the future and to have the financial security needed to embark upon higher education, their first job, home ownership and all of the key milestones in their lives, with the BECU's commitment to guide and assist them every step of the way.
Persons interested in finding out more about the BECU can visit www.becuonline.com or contact the co-operative society at email@example.com