Grow Financial Strives to Improve Financial Literacy in Tampa High Schools

Media Contacts:
Dave Richards
Grow Financial Federal Credit Union
(813) 837-2451, ext. 2569

Kendall Buchanan

TAMPA, FL – In an effort to improve basic financial literacy knowledge among high school students – more than 50 percent of seniors fail when tested on the subject, according to a 2008 National Jump$tart Coalition® survey – Grow Financial Federal Credit Union recently began offering teachers and students in the Tampa Bay area free access to BanzaiTM, a nationally-known financial education program.

Since September, Tampa teachers have enrolled over 1,200 students in this innovative web-based financial literacy program. Some states mandate secondary financial education for high school students, while Florida does not.

“Banzai’s Life Scenarios give students exposure to the financial dilemmas which come with adulthood,” said Justin Deskins, student services specialist for Grow Financial. “Our credit union’s goal is to prepare Tampa teens with the financial know-how to make smart, confident choices and reverse the national trend impacting financial literacy.”

Banzai utilizes prepared lesson plans and real-life scenarios which enable teachers to coach students in making wise spending and budgeting decisions. The program is geared toward middle and high school students, and teaches such core money management principles as:

  • Living within your means;
  • Dividing income between short- and long-term wants and needs;
  • Setting aside money for emergencies;
  • Preparing for upcoming expenses and
  • Making tradeoffs to stay within budget.

“There is such a great need for financial education in our nation. Students don’t even know what financial terms mean,” said Gail Charpin, 12th grade financial algebra teacher at Ridgewood High School. “This program allows me to pitch in and do my part as an educator.”

To date, the following Tampa-area schools have enrolled students in Banzai:  Academy Prep Center of Tampa; Alonso High School; Blake High School; Brooks-DeBartolo Collegiate High School; C. Leon King High School; Durant High School; Faith Outreach Academy; Foundation Christian Academy; Galen School of Nursing; Gateway Christian Academy; Jennings Middle School; Joe E. Newsome High School; Lenard High School; Liberty Middle School; LLT Academy; Plant City High School; Ridgewood High School; Tampa Bay Christian Academy and Tampa Transitional School of Excellence.

Tampa-area teachers interested in providing their students with Banzai program materials should contact Justin Deskins at or call 1-800-839-6328 extension 2458. As the largest financial literacy program of its kind in the nation, is used by approximately 1,800 schools throughout all 50 states.

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About Grow Financial.

Headquartered in Tampa, Florida, Grow Financial Federal Credit Union was established in 1955 and now ranks as one of the leading Credit Unions in the nation, with 18 branches and $1.7 billion in assets. Originally founded to provide a safe place to save and borrow money for the military and civilian personnel of MacDill Air Force Base, Grow Financial has since expanded membership beyond its traditional affiliation to include the employees of 1,100 local businesses. Today, the Credit Union serves more than 159,000 members throughout its five-county market area in Tampa Bay.

About Banzai

Banzai helps students learn to make smart spending and savings decisions while working closely with credit unions to build their brands and increase youth membership. In October 2010, Banzai was awarded the Excellence in Financial Literacy Award for Best in Curriculum from the Institute for Financial Literacy. Nearly 2,000 teachers and tens of thousands of students in all fifty states have benefited from Banzai’s online financial literacy curriculum. Banzai has also helped more than 100 credit unions connect with local educators to provide a better learning experience to teenaged youth. For more information, visit, or

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