REAL Solutions Showcase:
Co-op education, thanks to a local partnership
Peoples Choice and Taylor Credit Unions are
working with other co-ops in Central Wisconsin to bring cooperative
education to local elementary students.
Working in partnership with the Taylor County
Association of Cooperatives – which includes the electric,
farm-supply, and farm credit co-ops – the credit unions are
co-funding a program that teaches fifth graders about co-ops and
culminates in the students writing radio ads that promote them and are aired
during Co-op Month in October.
Co-op leaders come into the classroom to
explain how individuals benefit from owning the cooperatives where they
On a day when a substitute teacher is
required, a substitute who is paid by the Association presents the
lessons. The first day focuses on the cooperative business model, how
co-ops operate, co-op history and the benefits to their member-owners
The next time a sub is called in, the students
build on the knowledge they've gained by working in groups to write
their 30-second radio ads, which explain why people should join and use
co-ops. The students record the spots on the school's computers and the
best are selected for air time, something that adds competition and
excitement to the lesson.
"The kids really get into it," said Deb Woods,
CEO of Taylor Credit Union. "Their ads show a real understanding of the
value co-ops deliver to members."
Woods says the program helps the district
fulfill its financial education component in a way that is relatable
because there are so many cooperatives in the area. Executives from each
of the participating co-ops help present specifics about each type of
"Teaching kids about co-ops instills community
value that can be carried throughout a lifetime," added Matt Selke, CEO
of People's Choice Credit Union.
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