PHOTO STORY: Cass Kickstart to Careers prepares to welcome new students to program

CASSOPOLIS — Wednesday evening, an assembly line was formed at the Cass District Library as adults stuffed envelopes with papers, stickers and chocolate coins. By the time they were done, nearly 70 envelopes sat on a table ready to be gifted to area elementary students as a welcome to the Cass Kickstart to Careers program.

Cass Kickstart to Careers, a children’s savings account program, provides incoming Sam Adams Elementary kindergarten students with an interest-bearing savings account with $25 already deposited. The program, which is operated in partnership with the Michigan Gateway Community Foundation, helps students save money for their future while teaching them financial responsibility, according to program committee members.

As students age, the schools provide appropriate incentives to encourage students to save in their accounts, such as being rewarded for good grades or being involved in extracurricular activities.

“It’s not really taught in schools how money works or how to manage money and why it is important to plan and save,” said Cass Kickstart to Careers Committee President Ruth Andrews. “The main thing we want for the kids is not financial literacy, although that is a big part of it. The main thing is sometimes kids go all the way through high school without knowing what they want to do. So, we also want to address that by talking to them about careers and what they need to enter a certain field and how much is it going to cost. We want to help them start saving now.”

Now in its third year, Andrews said the program has proven successful.

“It’s been going very smoothly except for the pandemic, which of course interrupts everything,” she said. “In our first year, we were able to take the kids on a field trip to the bank and really show them where their money is and help them understand how it worked. The second year we weren’t able to do any of that. … We are certainly hoping to take the kids on a field trip again this year.”

Despite the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic threw at the Cass Kickstart to Career program, Andrews said it has all been worth it to see how much joy it brings the students involved.

Incoming Sam Adams Elementary Principal agreed that the program is a positive experience for her students.

“The kids love it,” she said. “I’ve heard so many great things about [the program] already. The kids are so excited about it.”

Berrien County

MGCF awards $121,182 in grants to Berrien, Cass counties

Berrien County

Berrien County reports lower COVID-19 cases in schools following mask mandate

Berrien County

Berrien County amends transportation funding requests

Cassopolis

Dowagiac man found guilty of drunk driving

Cass County

Underground Railroad Society of Cass County wins Michigan Humanities Council 2021 Outstanding Humanities Organization Award

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Police Log: Sept. 17-22

Edwardsburg

Ontwa Township/Edwardsburg Police Log: Sept. 13-20

Business

Boutique yoga, wellness studio opens in Edwardsburg

Berrien County

Berrien County Health Department hosts educational event in recognition of Infant Mortality Awareness Month

Business

Apple Festival Grande Parade is back, looking for participants

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 995,910 cases, 20,700 deaths

Education

Parents protest masks at Niles Community Schools Board of Education meeting

Berrien County

CFCN hosting flu, COVID-19 vaccine clinic

Business

Under the Harvest Moon Festival to offer children’s activities

News

Niles man, 13-year-old passenger killed in Sodus Township crash

Cass County

PHOTO STORY: Old Rugged Cross Church hosts church, museum dedication

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Elks hosting annual Guys and Dolls Golf Outing

News

New general surgeon seeing patients in Niles

Edwardsburg

Michigan Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall stops in Edwardsburg

Edwardsburg

PHOTO STORY: Edwardsburg Area Chamber of Commerce hosts fall festival

News

Niles man sentenced to probation for drunk driving

News

PHOTO STORY: Uptown Fright Fest a success

News

PHOTO STORY: Niles student crowned Miss Apple Festival 2021

News

Three injured in Howard Township crash