Partner Stories
Money. It’s a core necessity, it’s connected to everything we think of or do. For many of us, money comes into play when we are young. It could be coins taped in a birthday card from a favorite relative or allowance for doing chores. Money was the reward, the driver, but after we got that reward, no one told us what to do with it. As a kid, it was up to us – candy, stickers, books, hot wheels, the possibilities were endless. However, all good things must end… or do they?  

At Conexus, we are tackling the “money talk” with all ages, and the best part: we are doing it together with community organizations across Saskatchewan who share the same passion – educating and empowering people with financial literacy. Over the next few months, we plan to spotlight some of our partners and share how we are having the #moneytalk to educate and invest in the financial well-being of our youth.

Saskatoon Blades – Western Hockey League Expand/Collapse

What does Conexus Credit Union and a WHL team have in common?  We do share similar terminology like:  net, score, draft, goals, save.   The words are just not used in the same context.  What we do share wholeheartedly is our commitment to the communities where we work and play.  So we figured, why not work together, and create a program that is beneficial to kids in the community and share some of our knowledge and experiences.

A recent Financial Post  survey showed that the Saskatchewan education system does not include financial literacy as part of their core curriculum.   So Conexus and the Saskatoon Blades put their heads/helmets together to come up with a game plan.  In 2015, we crashed the net and launched a pilot financial literacy program in elementary schools in Saskatoon.  Our program included sharing our knowledge and experiences on

  • the difference between “wants & needs”
  • how to handle finances  
  • importance of saving
  • setting short and long-term goals
To cap it off we presented a $1000 RESP to one of the student participants.

The engagement and positive feedback we received from the students and the teachers after these sessions was phenomenal.  SCORE!!!   Our Conexus staff didn’t stop there, in 2016, we partnered with the Moose Jaw Warriors creating the Conexus Saves financial literacy program.

In 2017, we are working on our hat trick to provide more Saskatchewan kids the opportunity to expand their knowledge and skills so they make sound financial choices on their road to financial wellness.

Ignite Expand/Collapse

Have you ever been a part of something bigger than you that made a difference in someone else’s life?  That’s the way our partnership with Ignite makes us feel at Conexus.  

Conexus has been partnering with Ignite on adult education since 2013.  Ignite is a not-for-profit community employer. The program they offer is unique in that the students are the employees and their job is to learn.  Ignite helps young “at risk” gain the education, experience and skill that will lead to employment and/or further post-secondary training. The program includes

  • 32 weeks of in-house work
  • 11 weeks of apprenticeship with a 3rd party employer
that’s where Conexus comes in.  In years past, Conexus would have just stroked a cheque.  Today, our staff are volunteering to share their expertise.  This not only assists the students but together this partnership expands everyone’s learning and development by building and strengthening

  • self-confidence
  • leadership skills
  • public speaking abilities
  • communication skills and
  • teamwork
Ignite is assisting these young adults to make huge strides toward their future success and moving them away from patterns of unemployment and negativity.  May I add they are doing it quite well, here are some stats:

  • an average success rate of 75% of the students completing the program
  • 70% of these young adults obtaining employment or continuing with their post-secondary education.   Wow!!  
Saskatchewan’s labour force is constantly changing and the need for adaptable, skills based employees is only going to continue to grow.  Conexus is proud to join forces with Ignite to change lives by teaching business and entrepreneurial skills to create successful financially well individuals and families.  

Enough about us. Let’s listen to a few of the students, who have embraced this opportunity provided by Ignite with a little help from their friends.

John Chisholm School Expand/Collapse

Conexus and JCS partnership began over ten years ago. It started out like most school partnerships - window painting, branch tours and volunteering at each other’s events. This didn’t come without challenges. The students needed to strengthen their financial literacy skills, they needed to practice their public speaking and it needed to be fun! Simple right?

Recently our Moose Jaw Conexus team, Jan Stewart, Vice Principal, the staff at John Chisholm School and their Community School Council put our heads together and came up with an idea. A win win for everyone, a lesson in financial literacy but this time with a twist.  

A financial literacy night was planned and the twist… the students would run the show. That meant responsibility, ownership, accountability and learning!  Each student was tasked with:

  • Presenting a financial topic of their choosing under the mentoring of a Conexus staff member 
  • Researching the topic 
  • Compiling information 
  • Building the presentation
  • And facilitating their presentation to family, friends and the community
The evening didn’t stop there, as event hosts they decided to treat their guest to supper. The students also had to:

  • Plan the meal
  • Create a budget 
  • Grocery shop and 
  • Prepare the meal for everyone in attendance 

The result – Bam! A successful night empowering the students to understand and learn the benefits of being financial well, sharing knowledge with others and starting them on the road to making smart, lifelong financial choices. A true win, win!

While putting the final touches on our story, news came that there would be external funding changes; a decision was made by Prairie South School Division to discontinue programming at John Chisholm School for the 2017-18 school year. John Chisholm provided alternative programming for students that struggled in a traditional school setting for a variety of reasons. The number of students attending was small, allowing teachers to accommodate a number of learning styles and personalities. The goal with each student who came through John Chisholm School was to transition them back to a traditional school setting, by providing them with focused support and tools. 

Alternative programming will continue to be available for students, but will be built into the bricks and mortar of the three high schools in Moose Jaw. The hope is that by housing alternative programming inside the existing high schools, will allow for the transition back to traditional programming to be that much smoother.   

Our partnership has come to a close. Conexus staff hope they have made a meaningful difference in the lives of the students and staff by being positive roles models through mentoring and programming. Our Conexus staff too have taken away many skills and learnings that have aided in their personal growth and career development along with memories and friendships that will continue into the future. 

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