Financial education gets creative at VIS

The Pelham Public Library brought Poetry Alive to VIS on May 22, another grant funded program aimed at financial education. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

The Pelham Public Library brought Poetry Alive to VIS on May 22, another grant funded program aimed at financial education. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—Valley Intermediate School students saw poetry come to life in an interactive performance by Poetry Alive and sponsored by the Pelham Public Library and the Smart Investing @ Your Library Grant.

North Carolina-based Poetry Alive’s actor duo, Carney Gray and Michelle Schwantes, performed poems by Shel Silverstein, William Blake and Lewis Carroll, among others, incorporating students as actors and encouraging audience participation in the production.

Poetry Alive’s programs are aimed to “build up interest in poetry” among students, but the performance at VIS also contained important financial education messages, explained Pelham Public Library Director Barbara Roberts.

“They customized this program to have poems about saving, spending and financial literacy,” Roberts said.

The Poetry Alive event was the latest addition in the Pelham Public Library’s financial literacy initiative funded by an $83,500 Smart Investing @ Your Library grant from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Investor Education Foundation and the American Library Association.

The Pelham Pubic Library has been using the grant to fund various financial education programs and activities aimed at family financial literacy.

From Feb. 27 through March 7, the library held the Bank on Books program at Valley Elementary School, challenging students to read as many extracurricular books as possible and awarding winning classrooms with a set of age-appropriate financial books.

On April 23, the Pelham Public Library brought speaker Tommy Johns to Riverchase Middle School to present his TeenBoss Money Workshop, an age-targeted program about budgeting, saving, investing and smart spending.

“This is a collaborative effort between the Pelham Public Library and the schools,” Roberts said.

VIS students learn about financial responsibility during library class through reading books, discussing financial terms and writing their own poems about money. The lessons they learned in class were then reinforced in the Poetry Alive program.

“I think it is really important for (the students) to start thinking about money, and the (Pelham Public) Library has really helped with this,” VIS Librarian Mary Foy said. “They’re getting some really good ideas.”