Valley First

Valley First and Enactus partner to bring financial education to Kelowna kids

January 20, 2016

Penticton, B.C.—Okanagan College students have been putting their own learning into practice by delivering financial education to some of Kelowna’s youngest residents.

In partnership with Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union, students from the college’s Enactus group last week launched a new financial literacy pilot dubbed CANSave. The five-week pilot being run at AS Matheson Elementary introduces students to basic financial concepts such as sources of income, saving, spending and borrowing. Lessons use class discussion, interactive activities and games to bring forward money-related ideas in an age-appropriate manner.

Beyond exposing young people to money-related concepts, the program also aims to remove some of the taboos often associated with financial discussions and give young people greater comfort and confidence when it comes to talking about earning, spending and saving.

Valley First’s Drew Geldart says: “Many of us make resolutions in the New Year to overcome bad money management habits and often with little success because the habits are so engrained. By supporting CANSave, Valley First aims to embed good spending and saving habits early in life so once adult-life arrives those resolutions become a thing of the past.”

To capture attention and imagination, CANSave brings learning to life by simulating a scaled economy where students can earn imitation money by completing assignments. Earnings are then spent on weekly classroom expenses such as desk rent and remaining earnings can be saved for small prizes in the classroom “store.” The simulated economy reinforces learning through experience. It also acts as a tool for the instructor to measure how effective the lessons are.

Abbey Jones, CANSave project manager and Enactus member says: “Our team identified a problem that young adults graduating from secondary school were lacking the knowledge of saving money and managing debt; harsh realities that come with the challenges of adulthood. By equipping students with the fundamentals of financial education, our goal is to set the stage for students to grow their financial skills for the rest of their lives.

“We believe students will graduate from CANSave with the knowledge necessary to make wise financial decisions.  I’m eager to see our teams’ hard work on this program transform into a lasting impact.”

Once the students have successfully complete the course and show they have demonstrated the learnings, Valley First will give each student $25 to donate to a charity of their choice.

About Valley First

Valley First is a premier provider of banking, investment and insurance services for residents and businesses in the Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys. As a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.'s third-largest credit union with 54 branches and 38 insurance offices throughout the province, Valley First brings innovative products, an extensive branch network and local decision making to the banking experience. For more information on Valley First, visit

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