Local students benefit from free financial literacy program

Local students are receiving free financial literacy education through Banzai thanks to support from First National Bank of Louisiana.

Banzai is an online program and content library that lets users practice real-life finance from the home or classroom. Lizzie Fitts, public relations specialist, Banzai, said that their mission is to “provide a curriculum for kids to develop sound financial skills to prepare them for the real world.”

“Banzai content builds a foundation of practical knowledge and gives students the tools to create a sound financial future.”

Financial literacy curriculum will become a requirement for Louisiana high school students, starting with the class of 2028, as a result of a bill passed during the 2023 Louisiana legislative session.

First National Bank of Louisiana is committed to community reinvestment, said Susan Allardyce, vice-president of Marketing and Communications, First National Bank of Louisiana. Locally, they are doing this by giving the “next generations financial head start” with Banzai.

“As community bankers, we are uniquely positioned to reach out to our local schools with resources. … At a young age, children can grasp many facets of dealing with money – from ethics to wants versus needs. Later on, lessons can dive deep into calculating interest and using credit.”

They pay for the Banzai software licensing for eight schools in Louisiana.

In Calcasieu Parish, the programming and tools for teachers and students are provided to Washington-Marion High School, Lagrange High School and S.P. Arnett Middle School.

Teachers at the sponsored schools can sign up and begin using the Banzai curriculum in their classrooms immediately. Fitts said that the resources include several courses, calculators, articles and coaches that cover a wide range of financial literacy topics, from “the basics of filing your taxes to how health insurance works.”

“After finishing Banzai, students will know how to track where their money is and what it’s for, recognize financial trade-offs, build a budget, and more. At a time when many are facing unprecedented financial challenges, these lessons are invaluable.”

Allardyce said that Banzai is just one way that First National Bank of Louisiana educates the community. Financial literacy education is also provided through social media efforts, classroom volunteer hours and curriculum-infused special events. One of these events happened this Halloween.

“This year, at our Crowley office, we hosted a bank tour led by Barbie for first graders. They learned how we send money through the drive-thru and toured our 99-year-old bank, including the vault.”

Banzai lessons are also available to the public at no cost on the First National Bank of Louisiana’s website, fnbla.banzai.org.

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