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Assets Hawaii


Children's Savings Project

One of the priorities of the Ho`owaiwai Network is to advocate for universal children savings. The Children’s Savings Project is a statewide effort founded by professor Michael Cheang at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. The project involves various partnerships within each community across the state. The partners of the Children’s Savings Project are also members of the Ho`owaiwai Network.

Efforts on Hawai`i Island

The Children’s Savings Project on Hawai‘i Island is part of the larger statewide project involving over 17 schools and over 1,000 children that have saved over $100,000 combined. HACBED and the County of Hawaii, along with Dr. Cheang, helped to start the Children’s Savings Project on Hawaii Island in January 2010.

While the Children’s Savings Project is a statewide project, there is a strong focus on Hawaii Island because the Mayor of Hawaii Island has supported the project’s development and called for an island-wide initiative for every child on the island to open and maintain a savings account.

The Children’s Savings Project on Hawai‘i Island helps children open and maintain a savings account so they develop and maintain a lifelong behavior of savings. Children that participate in the project receive $5 to open a savings account and are encouraged to save a goal ranging from $30 to $50 over the school year. Once they achieve their savings goal, they are able to receive a bonus of $20. The key objective of the project is for children to develop a savings behavior early in life so they are able to build and maintain assets while ensuring economic security and well-being for the future.

The Children’s Savings Project on Hawai‘i Island involves a partnership that includes the school, the local credit union, Dr. Cheang, HACBED and the County of Hawai‘i. Each partner supports the project through specific roles. The local credit union and its staff host deposit days at the school at least once a month, while Dr. Michael Cheang collects and documents the savings data and family learning. The school administration and teachers send reminders to students of deposit days to encourage the children to save.

As of March 2011, there are eight elementary schools (Kanu O Ka ‘Āina New Century Public Charter School, Konawaena Elementary School, Keaau Elementary School, Keaukaha Elementary School, Pahala Elementary School, Holualoa Elementary School, Honaunau Elementary School, and Kalanianaole Elementary School) and five credit unions (Hawai‘i Community Federal Credit Union, Hawai‘i First Federal Credit Union, HFS Federal Credit Union, Ka`u Federal Credit Union, and Onamea Federal Credit Union) on Hawai‘i Island participating in the Kid’s Savings Project. Several more schools are in negotiations to start the Kid’s Savings Project during school year 2011-2012.

Early Results

Early results show that the children, especially those from low-income families, are saving and gaining other life skills that encourage positive financial behavior. Parents are heavily involved in helping their children to save by forming activities like recycling cans or completing chores, and are thinking of their own financial management.

Since starting the project on Hawai‘i Island in January 2010, over 430 children have joined the Kid’s Savings Project on Hawai‘i Island and have a combined savings of over $29,000.

The following is a diagram of the Network that has formed to push on children’s savings on the Island of Hawai‘i.

Investing in Our Keiki

Click here to make a donation to the Children's Savings Project.

Copyright © 2012 Ho'owaiwai NETWORK
c/o Hawaii Alliance for Community-Based Economic Development (HACBED)
677 Ala Moana Blvd, Suite 702, Honolulu, HI 96813

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