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2016-17 SMART Start Financial Literacy Impact
About Us 2016-17 SMART Start Financial Literacy Impact

Athens Federal Community Bank Impacts Over 7,000 Local Students with SMART Start Financial Literacy Program

Community service and civic loyalty are key components of the Athens Federal Community Bank mission and vision. One of the institutions's signature investments in the community is having a particularly meaningful impact on the financial well being of young people and their families.

Through a partnership with the leading education technology company Everfi, Athens Federal has committed more than $100,000 to bring the bank's exclusive SMART Start Financial Literacy Program - a robust online financial education platform - to classrooms in six area high schools. The program is offered to junior and senior level high school students as part of the state's required personal finance curriculum at absolutely no cost to the schools. 

During the 2016-17 school year, SMART Start has reached nearly 2,000 students, and we've impacted more than 7,000 students since the program's inception in 2012. Most impressively, students increased their scores on assessment tests by an average of 77% after taking the course. Knowledge gains were made in topics, including savings, credit scores, insurance/taxes, financing higher education and investing. Not only do these students end the course knowing more, but they are also more confident to make the financial decisions they will face as they move into young adulthood. In fact, an average of 39% more students felt prepared to manage the important financial matters that may lie ahead.

"It is our hope that graduates of the SMART Start program will be able to make education and responsible decisions about their finances; decisions that will not only benefit them today, but also provide a structure for their future," commented Christy Hannah, Athens Federal SMART Start program coordinator.

Our partnership extends to 19 area teachers that seek to proactively engage students in personal finance education, empowering them with a foundation of knowledge and skills. Each year, Athens Federal awards a SMART Start Teacher of the Year scholarship to the educator with the most modules completed per student. With more than 1,400 standards-aligned modules completed by her students, Mrs. Michelle Layman, a personal finance teacher at McMinn County High School, was the 2016-17 recipient.
>> Mrs. Layman with one of her certified classes


Each SMART Start certified student is eligible to enter a blog/essay contest at both the local and national level. This year, two outstanding students were recognized for sharing how Athens Federal's SMART Start program positively impacted their lives. Bradley Central High School student, Lauren McKinney, was selected among 1,153 entries across the country as the national winner of a $1,000 529 College Savings scholarship. Joshua Lane Osborn of McMinn County High School was chosen as the local recipient of the $250 SMART Start scholarship.
<< Joshua with teacher, Mr. Andy Clem, and AFCB's Christy Hannah

"I guess it takes some experience to truly learn how this money stuff works. And the lessons we learn in life are certainly more expensive than we might imagine. The EverFi Financial Literacy program is a fantastic tool to help students minimize the impact of having to learn those lessons the hard way."
--Excerpt from Lauren McKinney's national award-winning essay
>> Lauren McKinney

Throughout the year, representatives from Athens Federal made classroom visits in Bradley, McMinn and Monroe counties where they shared their real-world expertise to supplement topics covered in the SMART Start program.

"[The Athens Federal SMART Start Financial Literacy program] was the best thing I did for my students all year. Providing them with an online curriculum helped my students stay much more engaged during class," said Mr. Andy Cooper, teacher, Tellico Plains High School.

AFCB's Shane Sewell and Christy Hannah speak to a class at Tellico Plains High School

Each year, the SMART Start program reaches more students across the communities served by Athens Federal - our employee's children, our customer's children, our neighbor's children, and children who otherwise might never have access to quality financial education. The program is truly an investment in the future economic health and well being of our communities.