First Financial Fosters Financial Literacy at Maryland School for the Blind

In support of its long-standing volunteer relationship with the Maryland School for the Blind, First Financial Federal Credit Union is working to provide all-encompassing financial literacy education to students in the “Independent Living Class.”

First Financial has had a relationship with the Maryland School for the Blind for over 40 years and has developed it to include not only the basics of financial literacy education but the more practical components for those with visual impairments, such as building familiarity with branch surroundings and learning to use the accessibility capabilities on the ATMs.

Over the course of several volunteer outreach opportunities, representatives from First Financial have met with students of the class to provide instruction on responsible money management skills while acquainting them with First Financial and how membership at the credit union can support their academic goals. First Financial representatives helped the students gain hands-on training and practice for completing financial forms and applications, making deposits, setting up and using online and mobile banking applications, and using ATM and Visa Debit cards.

Recently, eight students from the class visited the Credit Union’s Fullerton Branch to familiarize themselves with branch surroundings, meet the staff, make deposits, and, most importantly, learn how to utilize the ATM. The students toured the branch and met with Branch Manager, Meredith Armstrong-Fordell for a financial Q&A session. They then used their headphones to learn how to utilize the ATM machine for future access to their First Financial Account. The students were very happy with the ATM, saying it was very accessible for people of varying levels of ability.

“We were really impressed by the students of the Maryland School for the Blind,” remarked Lydia Lamartina, First Financial Relationship Manager, about the students’ visit to the branch. “They took a lot of interest in what we had to share with them, which showed they were personally invested in developing the skills they need to best live and work independently throughout their lives. It was a great opportunity to provide them with the kinds of practical skills they will need to take care of their own finances in the future.”

The partnership First Financial representatives have forged with the Maryland School for the Blind continues into the spring semester, bringing more in-depth and interactive personal finance coaching into the classroom for students.