Slam dunk! Basketball as a teaching tool

| June 22, 2017

By Jessica Paseck | Submitted by Clay Hadsock | Wells Fargo

In Des Moines, Iowa, Wells Fargo and the Harlem Globetrotters team up to provide an important financial literacy lesson to young students.

Wells Fargo leaders in Des Moines, Iowa, received an assist from the Harlem Globetrotters as they teamed up to educate — and entertain — about 1,000 local children about saving money.
Orlando “El Gato” Melendez, a member of the famous traveling basketball team, and local Wells Fargo leaders visited two Des Moines elementary schools, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Iowa, and Youth Emergency Services & Shelter to provide Wells Fargo’s Hands on Banking® financial literacy curriculum.Don Pearson, Wells Fargo’s Great Plains lead region president, and his Des Moines-based leadership team quizzed youth ages 5 to 17 on topics such as what a budget is and how to understand the difference between needs and wants. After students answered questions correctly, they had the chance to learn or see a trick from El Gato.

The students also learned about bullying prevention, a focus for the Globetrotters. And as extra incentive, they received free tickets to a Globetrotters game at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

About 75 percent of Des Moines Public Schools students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. At Cattell and Findley elementary schools, where the Wells Fargo leaders and El Gato visited, the poverty rate is nearly 100 percent, says Superintendent Tom Ahart. Tom says hearing from Wells Fargo leaders — and El Gato — about savings was empowering.

“If they understand how money works at a young age, hopefully they’ll develop habits to help transform their lives,” Tom says.

John Pesetski, marketing director for the Harlem Globetrotters, says, “We appreciated the opportunity to work with Wells Fargo and to use the Globetrotter brand and kids’ interest in our ABCs of Bullying Prevention program as a way to introduce kids to equally important lessons about financial literacy. It was a fun and very informative experience for all of the kids involved.”

Throughout April each year, Wells Fargo team members all across the U.S. participate in the American Bankers Association’s® Teach Children to Save program, which involves bank volunteers providing financial education.

Don concludes, “Financial education is vital for children at an early age, and teaming up with the Globetrotters was a fun and engaging way to teach it.”

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