During April, American Riviera Bank employees will visit local schools, reaching more than 650 students with a message about the importance of being financially responsible.

As part of the American Bankers Association’s Teach Children to Save program, American Riviera Bank employees will present lessons, including games and activities about the concept of saving, how interest makes money grow, how to budget, and determining needs and wants.

This year, the bank has expanded its program to run throughout April to accommodate more schools and to incorporate all of its 19 employees, including all four executive officers.

“In these economic times, it is more important than ever to help teach children the value of saving. The lessons that they learn today will benefit their future and the economy that they will shape,” said Michelle Martinich, the bank’s chief financial officer.

Presentations will range from 30 to 45 minutes depending on the grade, and each child will go home with packets filled with tips for family saving and budgeting, savings coloring books and crayons, and other tools. One child in each class will walk away with an American Riviera Bank plush piggy bank.

According to the American Bankers Association, “our nation’s savings rate, measured as the percent of disposable personal income is negative. … Simple lessons on saving can help get children and teens on the right track.”

— Michelle Martinich is senior vice president and chief financial officer for American Riviera Bank.