GARY │Continuing its public awareness campaign designed to help consumers better manage their personal finances, Northwest Indiana Money Smart Week kicked off Thursday at Indiana University Northwest.
The effort began in Chicago in 2002 with 30 organizations and 40 events. Northwest Indiana Money Smart Week chairwoman Dian Reyome, of Centier Bank, said events and activities related to Money Smart Week have grown to include 45 states.
She said the Northwest Indiana Money Fair Council continues to expand its efforts with highlights this year the bookend money fairs at Ivy Tech Community College on Saturday in Valparaiso and at IU Northwest on April 12. Registration for both begins at 8 a.m.
IUN Chancellor William J. Lowe said as an institution of higher learning engaged in the community the university embraces the themes of Money Smart Week by raising awareness of financial wellness and connecting consumers to accessible and affordable financial information and resources.
“According to a survey conducted by the Council of Economic Education in 2010, more individuals nationally filed for bankruptcy than graduated from college,” he said. “As an educator and a citizen this is very troubling.”
Lakeshore Public Media President and CEO James Muhammad announced the winners of the Money Smart Kid Video contest, in which students had to explain why they were worth investing in for the future. Three eighth-grade students from Pierce Middle School in Merrillville were the winners - Brandon Downing placed first, D’Amani Cundiff placed second and Ramon Garcia placed third.
Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said she was particularly pleased to celebrate young people who have started their financial literacy early.
“It means they will be good citizens in Northwest Indiana,” she said. This is a week of learning, a week of opportunity that supports your ability to be money smart throughout the year.”
Also speaking was Aco Sikoski, president of the Ivy Tech Community College campus in Valparaiso, which is participating in its second consecutive Money Smart Week.
“We are strong believers that if we increase the financial capabilities for everyone we will increase financial capabilities of the region,” he said.
Muhammad also announced that Lakeshore Public Television will debut a new television series, “Money Sense,” that is designed to educate the public on personal financial issues and improve financial wellness. The first episode airs at 8 a.m. April 11.
For more information visit www.moneysmartweek.org.