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Published: Thursday, 10/6/2011 - Updated: 2 years ago

Cooking up a monster of a program

Library given PNC grant to teach finances to youths

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Cookie Monster from the TV show 'Sesame Street' makes himself at home at the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, where he was on hand for a grant announcement. Cookie Monster from the TV show 'Sesame Street' makes himself at home at the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, where he was on hand for a grant announcement.
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Even preschoolers can learn basic concepts about spending, sharing, and saving their money, and the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library is ready to start teaching them.

Library Director Clyde Scoles announced Wednesday the library had received a $75,000 grant from the PNC Foundation to support a financial literacy program known as "For Me, For You, For Later" that was developed by Sesame Workshop, creator of "Sesame Street."

To mark the occasion, Cookie Monster was at the main library downtown to greet -- and share cookies with -- about 30 children from the Head Start program at the nearby Jefferson Center.

"It is never too early to begin teaching the foundations for skills that children will use throughout their lives," Mr. Scoles said.

He said the grant will enable the library to purchase books, DVDs, and other materials focused on financial literacy. Over the next two years, the library will host 78 family story-time workshops that are expected to reach 1,000 children and 700 parents.

It also will hold financial literacy fairs for parents and children and make outreach visits to day-care centers and preschools in neighborhoods that don't have story-time opportunities, create financial literacy mobile learning centers in 20 library locations, and distribute "For Me, For You, For Later" kits to youngsters.

"This is an extremely important grant for this library system," Mr. Scoles said. "We are extremely grateful to receive it."

Brian Bucher, PNC's regional president in Toledo, said the foundation, which receives funding from the PNC Financial Services Group Inc., has distributed $445,000 in the last 16 months in the Toledo area alone.

Despite his tears, Damorion Jones, 4, shares a hug with a book-holding Cookie Monster. Despite his tears, Damorion Jones, 4, shares a hug with a book-holding Cookie Monster.
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"At PNC, we're committed to helping produce stronger, smarter children in our communities -- the 0 to 5 or birth to 5 [age group] is very important to us," he said, adding that the corporation yesterday announced a 10-year, $250 million plan to extend its "Grow Up Great" program throughout the country.

Nancy Eames, youth services coordinator for the library, said as part of the program, children will receive and decorate three clear jars they will learn to use for saving, sharing, and spending, and will have the opportunity to earn library dollars they can spend at the story-time classes.

Parents will learn the same concepts along with grown-up topics such as budgeting and financial planning.

"We'll teach them how to share money values with their kids all the time," Ms. Eames said. "When you're in the grocery store, when you're at the ATM, when your child wants something you can't afford, what do you say?"

Roselyn Jackson, a longtime Head Start teacher who was at the library with her class, was excited about the program, which also is intended to promote literacy in general. She said she reads books to the children daily, and they walk to the library several times in the spring and fall.

"This is my favorite activity," Ms. Jackson said, adding the toddlers love to hear stories, memorize their favorite lines, and act them out. "We're all into it."

Also yesterday and continuing from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today, preschoolers can check out PNC's "Mobile Learning Adventure" on the Civic Plaza rooftop of the main library, 325 Michigan St. The free exhibit offers hands-on educational games and activities.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at: jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-724-6129.



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