NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY)–MaryAnn Harris is six months into her job as a bank teller with Bayport Credit Union.
She’s using the opportunity to make some money while attending Virginia Peninsula Community College.
“I joined Bayport because I didn’t want to be scared of my own finances. I wanted to learn, see what others did and their mistakes so I didn’t do that. It’s definitely helped me be more comfortable dealing with my own finances and it’s a really great experience I think,” said Harris.
Harris started this position with some prior experience thanks to Bayport’s Youth Financial Education Program. It started in 2014 and is now in over 60 schools in Hampton Roads-ranging from elementary to high school, even private schools.
Harris says learning about finances early on set her up for success.
“That experience helped me get the job, I went into it like I know a little bit of what I do,” said Harris.
Bayport’s Financial Education Supervisor is one of the people who go into local schools to teach students about financial literacy.
“We will do a savings day at that school along with financial literacy going into the classrooms and helping the teachers teach the students about money..at the high school level we do provide financial literacy but we also do a student run credit union, where we hire students to be tellers and they do transactions, depositing withdrawals, with their peers,” said Bayport financial educator, Lisa Clark.
Clark says it allows the student to make smart decisions on their needs versus their wants.
“This gives us the opportunity at the middle school and high school level to talk to them about savings and not relying on a credit card. What does that look like? and how you’re going to pay over time. I was recently at a school and talking to children about smart habits with a credit card and they didn’t realize how high the interest rates can get..it is never to early to learn about money..” said Clark.
Harris agrees. She says take control when you’re younger so you don’t look back with regrets.
“I see a lot of people who come in who’ve struggled in the past. I’ve heard a lot of people say I’ve made some mistakes when I was young and they’re still trying to rebuild their credit. I think if you learn it when you’re young it’ll translate to when you’re older,” said Harris.