Take a gorgeous spring day, 850 excited elementary school students and set them loose at a modern, spacious professional ballpark.
You get a day that students, 30 bank associates from Regions and members of the Indianapolis Indians won’t forget.
“Anytime we can get players and kids together, you see a little sparkle in their eyes,” said Randy Lewandowski, general manager of the Indians, the Triple-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. And, for the players, “to give back to the kids and to the community is something they look forward to.”
Financial Education Days at Victory Field combines a financial education class with a tour of Victory Field and included batting tips from and photographs with Indians players.
This marked the second year Regions partnered with the Indians.
“I think (financial education) is critical for students at this age,” said Kim Borges, area marketing manager for Regions. “I wish we’d had this when I was a student to learn the basics of banking. These are future business leaders, and we’re getting them started early as related to budgeting, savings and planning for their own futures.”
Regions Area President Leslie Carter-Prall said the day provided instant feedback for the 30 Regions associates who participated.
“When we continue to hear how excited the students are, how they walk away feeling really fulfilled, we know we’ve made a difference in these children’s lives,” Carter-Prall said. “We are impacting them in a number of ways, not only to explore and experience the Indianapolis Indians’ Victory Field, but also giving them an understanding of financial education so they can be productive citizens in our community.”
The day was divided into three parts for the students. Scholars and Dollars, taught by Regions associates, provided lessons in financial fundamentals to students from Rousseau McClellan IPS #91 and Frederick Douglass School IPS #19.
The students also took a tour of Victory Field and then were led to the batting cages, where they were given batting tips under the tutelage of Indians’ players.
“We like to learn through hands-on projects,” said Principal Margaret Higgs of Rousseau McClellan IPS #91. “We like to go out into the community, like coming to Victory Field today, and take what we’ve learned and put it into practice, and actually get into a dugout, into a batting cage.”
For many of the students, the day marked the first exposure to professional baseball players, as well as an introduction to financial education. The latter made the day worthwhile for Regions Private Wealth Manager Kelly Wendt, who serves as the Rousseau McClellan Project champion.
“I think, as much as anything, it’s that they pick up some of the basics of money management.” Wendt said. “Because a lot of these kids really never had anyone talk to them about a bank or even how to operate a basic account. It’s planting a little seed that will take root and inspire them more.”
Brian McLaughlin, community relations and promotions manager for the baseball club, said partnering with Regions was common sense.
“I like to think of the city of Indianapolis as a small-town feel in a big city,” McLaughlin said. “So partnerships like this are a natural to do some good and are a good fit for Indianapolis, where we all want to be a part of the community and do some good for all involved.”
Rousseau McLellan IPS #91 teacher Matthew Iszler believes the day left an indelible impression on his students.
“To have Regions come out here and help us out is the best,” Iszler said. “They bring all their experience in the financial sector into the classroom, and kids see how that impacts their day-to-day life, which really changes the learning experience. Something is driven home that they can remember.”
Indianapolis Public Schools is one of the more than 8,000 organizations Regions supports.