The SENCA SMART (Southeast Nebraska Community Action Strategic Money and Resource Techniques) financial literacy program was developed in the spring of 2011 as a pro-active solution to the number one concern regarding the Perception of Poverty...the lack of training and education. The pilot program began during the 2011-2012 school year for 8th and 12th grade students in Richardson and Pawnee county schools. Logic models were created for each grade level identifying the need, projecting an outcome, utilizing a measurement tool (all students are given a pre-test and a post-test on basic financial literacy skills), and state the mission of each program level. The participation in the SENCA SMART program has continued to grow each year and is currently presented in participating schools in the counties of Cass, Johnson, Otoe, Pawnee, and Richardson.
The SENCA SMART Financial Literacy Program is broken down in the following sections. Participating schools have the option of utilizing one or all sections of the program.
Poverty Simulation—Students, school staff, and individuals from participating communities are invited to interact in a simulation presented by trained SENCA Family Development Associates/Specialists. This opportunity allows participants to experience in one two to three hour event what families who live in poverty face each day. Participants engage in open discussions on how alternative and pro-active solutions can be found within their own communities to assist financially challenged individuals and families achieve financial independence.
Wells Fargo “Hands on Banking” - The financial literacy curriculum utilized which meets the Nebraska State Standards of Education. The classes are presented in 4 to 5 classroom sessions by a trained SENCA Family Development Associates/Specialists . The classes focus on the areas of Checking and Savings, Budgeting (creating a personal spending plan), Credit (understanding what credit is and its personal impact), and the importance of Education and how it effects jobs and earning capacity.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Omaha Branch - The Travelling Trunk is an opportunity for students to gain an understanding of how banking works, the role of the Federal Reserve Bank and how it affects the Nation’s economy. Trips for 12th grade students to the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City are scheduled as funding opportunities are available.
Students Benefit from SENCA SMART
8th Grade Students projected outcome is to demonstrate an understanding of the value of money, create a budget to ensure their ability to plan for future financial security, and open or increase a savings/checking account. The mission is: To provide youth with tools to understand the value of money and impact of choices made.
12th Grade Students projected outcome is to be able to demonstrate an understanding of the value of money and credit management and be able to create a personal spending plan to ensure their ability to plan for future financial security. The mission is: To provide young adults with tools to understand the value of money management in the process of obtaining financial independence.
Evaluating the Program
Pre-Tests and Post-Tests - All participating students are given a Pre-test and a Post-test of the Hands on Banking Curriculum. These test scores help measure the overall success of the program and if students are retaining valuable information needed to become financially independent. Since the program's inception, over 2,180 students have participated in the classes with 82% increasing their financial skills and knowledge by 30 percentage points.
Brochure on the SENCA SMART program
A brochure is available for parents/guardians or other interested individuals regarding the SENCA SMART SAVE financial literacy program. The brochure can be accessed by clicking here.
SENCA SMART INVEST – Adult Financial Literacy
SENCA SMART INVEST is a 6 hour presentation utilizing the Hands on Banking curriculum for adults. Class times and schedules vary depending on the need in each county. If interested, please contact your local SENCA outreach office and speak with the trained Family Development Specialist.