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P.O. Box 63, Cassopolis, MI 49031

CASSOPOLIS — Thursday evening, Cass County Commissioners learned about how a local group is helping young students plan for the future.

Becky Moore, a member of the Cass Kickstart to Careers board, presented to the Cass County Board of Commissioners Thursday evening during the county board’s regular meeting. In her presentation, Moore explained the goals of Cass Kickstart to Careers and how it is being implemented in local schools.

Cass Kickstart to Careers, launched this past school year, provides all incoming Sam Adams Elementary kindergarten students with interest-bearing child savings accounts with an initial deposit of $25. The project, which is meant to help children begin saving for post-secondary education, encourages students and families to make deposits into the bank account throughout the student’s school career, and additional financial incentives may be awarded to students who achieve academic or attendance goals, according to program representatives. The funds put into the CSAs will not be available to students until they graduate high school, and families can opt-out of the program if they choose to do so. So far, Moore said no parent has opted out of the program.

Cass Kickstart was made possible through a partnership between the Michigan Gateway Community Foundation, Cassopolis Public Schools, Circle Credit Union and the Cass Kickstart Committee.

“We are encouraging these students to pursue post-secondary education,” Moore said. “This is also to encourage students and families to work on financial literacy.”

During Thursday’s presentation, Moore pointed to studies that show CSAs can give parents a higher expectation for their child’s future education and give students higher hopes for their own futures.

Already, Moore said children and families are excited about the program.

“They can already see their accounts growing,” Moore said of the kindergarten students participating. “We view Cass Kickstart as an investment in our community, and we hope everyone else will, too.”