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Over 140 Bankers Coach Students in Financial Literacy

On October 23, 2019, hundreds of customers flooded the Clark County Government Center Amphitheater to buy school-garden-grown fruits and veggies from over 600 student farmpreneurs at our semiannual Giant Student Farmers Market. Students learned about financial literacy from bankers in the runup to the market, and over 140 bankers from 14 Las Vegas financial institutions, including Bank of Nevada and Charles Schwab, coached students through running a business during the market.

Students learn real-life skills and become financially fit citizens through Green Our Planet’s Financial Literacy Program, which partners local banks with schools. The program brings representatives from local banks and credit unions into the classroom to teach students about savings accounts, entrepreneurship and the role of banks play in the community through a curriculum that meets state financial literacy standards. After mastering the basics, students write their own business plan to successfully market and sell their school gardens’ produce to their community. The financial literacy experience culminates in a school-organized farmers market or Green Our Planet’s Giant Student Farmers Market, where students from schools across the Las Vegas Valley put their business plans into action by selling school garden produce and garden crafts to the public.

Piloted in Fall 2017 with just five classes taught by Bank of Nevada, the program has grown to include 50 bankers from 14 financial institutions teaching 68 classes in 19 schools. This fall, 2,000 students learned through Green Our Planet’s Financial Literacy program, and bankers donated over 1,000 volunteer hours to the program. Bankers donated their time through teaching financial literacy and by coaching the student farmpreneurs at the Giant Student Farmers Market. Over 600 students participated in this fall’s market and were coached by 147 bankers from 14 local financial institutions.

At the market, every school’s booth was carefully inspected by a team of expert judges: Julie Pippenger from the Agassi Foundation for Education, Laura Urban of the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, Joyce Goedeke from the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce and Bank of Nevada CEO John Guedry. After forty minutes of deliberation and some difficult decisions, the judges announced their picks.

Cozine Elementary’s passion for produce showed throughout the market, winning them the Most Team Spirit award. With a whopping 17.5 pound pumpkin, Pahrump’s Floyd Elementary School walked away with the award for Heaviest Produce, and Lowman Elementary’s harvest-bedecked table was awarded Best Booth Decor. For ingenious water conservation and plastic upcycling, Walker Elementary’s self-watering planter garnered the Greenest Product award.

Students reinvest proceeds from the Farmers Market into their school gardens. Several schools plan to use the profits to buy garden tools, build a pollinator garden or add to their garden-expansion fund.

Thank you to Bank of Nevada, Bank of George, Meadows Bank, City National Bank, Nevada State Bank, Lexicon Bank, US Bank, America First Credit Union, Charles Schwab, Pacific Premier Bank, Kirkwood Bank of Nevada, First Security Bank and East West Bank for supporting our students on the road to financial literacy!

Samantha West

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