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Kids and money are focus of new library program

A $200,000 grant – the largest yet received by the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation and aimed at teaching financial literacy to the Sesame Street crowd – was officially announced Wednesday.

Expected to affect about 30,000 youngsters ages 3 to 5, their parents and caregivers in the region, the grant from PNC bank’s charitable foundation will go toward teaching concepts of saving, sharing and responsible spending with a financial education activity kit developed by the Sesame Workshop.

Early childhood education is a major philanthropic focus of PNC’s “Grow Up Great” initiative, said Weston Andress, regional president of the Pittsburgh-based bank, in a ceremony at ImaginOn.

Andress said that children educated in early childhood programs are 50 percent less likely to grow up to become teen parents, 70 percent less likely to be arrested for a violent crime and 80 percent more likely to attend college.

“It’s pay me now or pay me later,” Andress said. “Investing in our youngest provides a return in the form of more productive lives, stronger communities and in better employees.”

Libraries across Mecklenburg will use the program’s materials in family story times, the summer “Wee Read” campaign and in educational play areas at ImaginOn and other branches, said Lee Keesler, library system CEO.

Washburn: 704-358-5007
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