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    Lights, Camera, Inspiration

    As a credit union person who uses Biz Kid$ in the classroom, and one who watches it with the young people in my life on PBS, it was a thrill to be invited to tour the studio while visiting Seattle, WA.

    When I walked through the nondescript doors and into the nerve center of one of my favorite programs, I felt like a kid in a candy store! The energy in the studio was electric. As the neon lights were lit up for our benefit – it was the people – not the props, nor the stage that sparkled! (Although I have to admit, sitting on the lighted stage was very cool!)

    I was impressed to hear the student actors discussing a segment and “why it was important to teens,” not just how to act it out. I was amazed to find the people behind the scenes talking about “how the segment could be used by teachers,” not just how it would appear on the big screen. And, I was in awe of the technical team who talked of “how it could be used in a classroom setting,” in addition to airing on TV. They didn’t act stuffy like I expected an Emmy award winning team to act. Instead, they impressed me to be real people, focused on real financial issues that concern real teens.

    Alas, the studio isn’t fancy, or even tidy for that matter. The work is hard and the pay is minimal. The “reward” (they told me) is when “real people (like me) tell them how Biz Kids is used in classrooms to teach teenagers to make and save money.” “After all,” one of the teen actors told me, “that is why we do what we do…to help kids.”

    When I left the studio, with autographs in hand and a smile in my heart—I looked back at the dull gray walls and vowed that “I would tell all about this inspiring effort – and work to gain funding so that Biz Kids can continue teaching students and inspiring kids.”

    Footnote: After returning home, I convinced my credit union to support Biz Kids locally on PBS, and I continue to educate teachers and the community about Biz Kids. Next month, I am making a presentation to the Mid Michigan Chapter of Credit Unions in hopes they will also support the program at both the local and national level. I encourage you to join me in viewing, using and supporting this impressive program.

    Heather is proud to be “back at her first credit union” – Isabella Community CU – as the VP of Community Development where she started her credit union career as a co-op student at age 15 ½. As a self described, “Credit Union Enthusiast,” Heather is an experienced and energetic trainer, writer, speaker, youth advocate, executive and volunteer.

    Heather recently celebrated 20 years as a certified CU Development Educator (DE) and 31 years in Michigan credit unions! She has enthusiastically lent her expertise and support to cooperatives around the globe.

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