GALION — Community service has become a focus for Galion City Schools the past two years. District-wide, students and staff members are finding new and creative ways to give back to Galion and the surrounding communities.
Another recent example comes from the fifth-grade at Galion Intermediate School, where students and staff have been raising money to support the Humane Society Serving Crawford County.
Every two weeks, Intermediate School students can “dress down” from their school uniform for the day for a 25 cent contribution to the Humane Society. Fifth-grade students then count the change collected and prepare the deposits for Galion treasurer Charlene Parkinson. However, students got to experience the real world when a group of 20 fifth-graders visited United Bank in Galion to make deposits directly into the bank Feb. 6.
“Collecting, counting and depositing money is a skill that our students will use throughout their lives and this experience has been wonderful for them,” said fifth-grade teacher Paula Prince. “This field trip was Mrs. Parkinson’s idea, and we discussed how going to the bank could make this community service project an even more real-world experience for our students.”
Students were separated into small groups and received a sealed bag with change they had counted and deposit slips they prepared. The small groups then approached the tellers at United Bank and went through the deposit process.
“I was keen to have the children take their deposits to the bank and have the tellers verify that counting money and preparing deposits require diligence and accuracy,” said Parkinson. “I also believe that children should understand about banks, personal finances, credit cards, check books and the process of saving money.”
The United Bank branch in Galion jumped at the opportunity to welcome the students and give them a chance to learn, as United Bank is a community bank and thrives on relationships and growing financial literacy.
“This is a wonderful way for students to understand what banking is all about,” said United Bank assistant vice president Jennifer Kuns. “Students witnessed the transactions firsthand and experienced what the process is like to make deposits into an account.”
After making their deposits, students received a complete tour of the bank that included the vault. Students also had the opportunity to meet the United Bank staff and learn what they do in the banking process.
“We hope the students learn the importance of saving money and giving back to the community,” said Kuns, who also is vice president of Galion’s school board. “It is wonderful that we can be part of this fundraiser.”
To date, the Galion Intermediate building has raised nearly $500 and fifth-graders have collected all the money and prepared all the deposits. Additionally, a generous community member has agreed to a $1 for $1 match, bringing the grand total to more than $900.
“The students are aware of the cause we are donating to and why it is important to give to others,” said Prince. “I know the students feel proud of themselves for giving back to our community, and we couldn’t be more proud of our students and their generosity.”
A second group of fifth grade-students will visit the United Bank branch in Galion on Feb. 21.