Three Rivers Charter School and several of its students are benefiting from a student savings program launched by Mendocino Credit Union. Following a recent successful campaign at Oak Manor Elementary School in Ukiah, Mendo Lake Credit Union (MLCU) expanded its Money Wise program to several more schools in Mendocino and Lake counties this year.

First- through eighth-grade students at Three Rivers Charter School accepted the credit union’s challenge to save $500 in their individual accounts over a given month, resulting in a “matching” donation of $500 to the school itself. Tracy McDaniel, manager of MLCU’s Fort Bragg branch, presented the check to the school.

The funds from MLCU will be used to support a student science field trip to the Bay Area, including a trip to the San Francisco Zoo and to the science museum, according to Three Rivers Charter School Executive Director Katharine (Kathy) Wylie, M.S. Ed.

Six students from the school participated in the savings campaign.

“The skills associated with wise money-management may be the most important learning that takes place for our students. Consumer education is a life skill toward building a strong credit score,” said Wylie. “The personal choices about money are endless. Sound financial management — which translates to good credit scores — can be the most important factor in adult decisions and can be the difference between getting that job or not, in the work world. We at Three Rivers Charter School are very grateful for the opportunity to partner with MLCU, and we hope to continue this partnership that benefits our students.”

The Money Wise program encourages students to save money — $250 or $500 – in their individual accounts over a certain period of time. If they succeed, Mendo Lake Credit Union (MLCU) “matches” the amount of money students saved – up to $500 – and donates it to the school or schools’ parent teacher organizations.

MLCU has been collaborating with schools in the two counties to promote youth savings and financial literacy.  Money Wise is a voluntary, fee-free program designed to offer students a chance to learn about saving money for future goals.

MLCU is a community development credit union serving the rural Lake and Mendocino counties in northern California and currently has over 19,000 members. Its branches are located in Lakeport, Clearlake, Ukiah and Fort Bragg. Each branch works with local schools to promote financial literacy and provide college scholarships. MLCU is also committed to supporting a wide range of nonprofit and community organizations.