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Spring 2023 Deposit Days

The KickStart to Career Program was established in Mason County in the fall of 2019 to support students in reaching their post-secondary goals. The program was established to promote pathways to secondary education by establishing Children’s Savings Accounts (CSA). The Community Foundation for Mason County is looking to strengthen the college-going culture in Mason County to meet 75% enrollment by 2025 and 60% completion by 2030. Studies show students with savings are three times more likely to enroll, and four times more likely to complete post-secondary education compared to their peers without savings.

In the fall of each school year, every kindergarten student in Mason County has a savings account established with KickStart to Career and is generously gifted an initial seed deposit of $50 from the John & Anita Wilson Family Fund. “Our third graders who have been in this program for four years now, and they know the drill and are role models to the new students entering the program,” said Julie Van Dyke, KickStart to Career Program Coordinator. Students are becoming more familiar with the goal of saving money, as demonstrated by the number of dollars deposited this spring.

In both November and March, students in kindergarten through third grade county-wide participate in KickStart to Career Deposit Days by partaking in field trips to West Shore Bank or Safe Harbor Credit Union to make deposits into their CSA’s. Christine Lamb, Vice President Ludington Market Branch Manager, is an active member in student financial planning lessons and said “The bank staff always look forward to deposit days as they love to interact with the students and engage with them during the financial planning lessons. The children always bring exciting energy and always ask the most interesting and thoughtful questions.”

Julie was thrilled with the success of the day and the number of students making deposits. “The Spring Deposit Days ran smoothly with most schools participating in field trips. I’m so proud of these kids for remembering to bring in their own money they have saved up to put into their savings accounts,” said Julie. Over the course of two days, students deposited a total of $7,328 into their accounts with a 49% participation rate.

This spring, retired educator Heidi Urka volunteered at West Shore Bank and Safe Harbor Credit Union to help teach financial planning lessons and support students. “I was honored to be asked to assist with the spring Deposit Days!  It provided me with the opportunity to not only show students the physical aspects of the bank facilities, but to share information with some of them about the roles banks can play in saving, earning and protecting their money.”

The success of the Kickstart to Career program in Mason County is a testament to the power of community-driven initiatives. The program has not only provided students with financial education but has also brought the community together in support of their youth. Local businesses and groups are also impacting the KickStart to Career program by donating incentive funds as grade-level sponsors. Sponsors this year donated over $5,600 toward student savings accounts. 2022-2023 sponsors include West Shore Bank, Safe Harbor Credit Union, Lake Michigan CPA, Optimist Club of Ludington, and the Scottville Optimist Club. Each year the K2C program is looking for community partners to sponsor incentive dollars for each grade level, provide piggybanks to the incoming kindergarten cohort, and more. We are currently in search of our 4th grade sponsor for the next school year.

KickStart to Career’s impressive program accomplishments have highlighted the importance of this program and its impact on the community. If you or your organization would like more information on how you too can impact the KickStart to Career program, please contact Julie Van Dyke at, or 231.233.6867.