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Money 101: St. Mary’s Bank Partners with IMPACCT Academy to Teach NH Students Financial Literacy

Posted On 12/10/2018
St. Mary’s Bank and IMPACCT AcademyTM announce a new partnership designed to teach at-risk students with disabilities about financial literacy. The program will benefit 250–300 IMPACCT students from 70+ high schools across the state.
IMPACCT AcademyTM provides pre-employment transition services to students with disabilities and operates under Inspiring the Mastery of Post-Secondary Achievement in College, Careers and Training (IMPACCT), a partnership of New Hampshire Vocational Rehabilitation, Granite State Independent Living (GSIL), and high schools throughout New Hampshire.
“Many of our students join the workforce, earn their first paychecks, and then don’t know what the next step is,” explains Maureen O’Donnell, GSIL’s Director of Education Services. “When we approached students, we learned that many were not familiar with the banking services their families utilized.”
To fill this skill gap, IMPACCT AcademyTM introduced financial literacy into its curriculum in July 2016. Recognizing St. Mary’s Bank’s commitment to financial literacy, GSIL staff reached out to the credit union for guidance on establishing a coordinated program to teach students with disabilities the financial skills they need as they transition out of high school.
“We had begun using It’s a Money Thing, a financial education program that makes learning about money matters fun and memorable, in some of our financial literacy efforts,” states Elizabeth Stodolski, Director of Marketing at St. Mary’s Bank. “We thought it might be perfect for IMPACCT AcademyTM.”

It's a Money Thing follows Jen on her journey to understand everything there is to know about money, in a way that entertains while educating.

“When we learned about It’s a Money Thing, we knew it was exactly what we needed,” agrees O’Donnell. “This program includes handouts, videos and PowerPoint, so it naturally caters to the different ways in which our students learn.”
To help IMPACCT instructors get up to speed with the 36 modules of It’s a Money Thing, St. Mary’s Bank recently led a supplementary “train the trainer” workshop. Twenty IMPACCT instructors learned about the program’s elements and how to most effectively teach its modules. Workshop participants divided into small teams to explore the various financial topics, from “Saving” and “Using Credit” to “Financial Investing” and more. The teams then led simulations of how they would transfer these learned topics into the IMPACCT classrooms.
“We learned firsthand that these modules provide simple, fun, and to-the-point real-life money scenarios,” comments Brianna Smith, GSIL’s Associate Director of Education Services. “These lessons will definitely help our students as they think about employment and join the workforce.”

IMPACCT AcademyTM instructors watch It’s a Money Thing videos before breaking out into small groups during their train-the-trainer workshop.

To further help IMPACCT AcademyTM roll out the It’s a Money Thing curriculum, St. Mary’s Bank made a donation from its 1908 Fund. This fund, named for the year St. Mary’s Bank was founded, supports programs and organizations that work to move families and individuals toward financial independence.
“We now have this wonderful foundation to continue building off of,” O’Donnell adds. “Thanks to St. Mary’s Bank, we have the tools to help our students and their families learn about money management... some of them for the very first time.”
About Granite State Independent Living
Granite State Independent Living (GSIL) is a statewide nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote quality of life with independence for seniors and people with disabilities through advocacy, information, education, support, and transition services. Learn more.
IMPACCT is a partnership of New Hampshire Vocational Rehabilitation, Granite State Independent Living, and high schools throughout New Hampshire. This program helps students with disabilities become part of the local workforce as they navigate from high school to employment, post-secondary education, or training that leads to a career. IMPACCT AcademyTM offers an academic curriculum presented as a simulated work environment, hosted at community colleges throughout New Hampshire. Students earn academic credit through Extended Learning Opportunities with soft skills training braided throughout. Learn more.

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