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Emily Petrik, Branch Manager of the Savings Institute Bank & Trust Dayville office, recently took part in the first Global Leadership Summit for The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans. She was selected to attend for her project that helps provide a better financial future for those with special needs.
As an experienced banker, Emily Petrik knows the importance of a financial education; however, she also knows that schools rarely prepare children with the information they need to be financially independent. This is even more true of those individuals with special needs. Mother to two special needs children, she has experienced firsthand the hurdles involved in ensuring her children receive appropriate attention and services regarding their education.
“Many disabled and special needs citizens have the capacity and desire to learn how to manage their finances but lack the access to education and tools to succeed in this endeavor. All too often a case manager simply does all banking for their clients to ease their own already overwhelming caseload, leaving their clients in the dark regarding personal finances. I wanted to find a way to give these individuals the opportunity to succeed and the confidence to achieve financial independence,” stated Emily when asked what motivated her to develop her program.
As a high school student, Emily received a prestigious scholarship from the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, which helped her to achieve her goal of obtaining a degree in psychology. The organization gave her the ability to accomplish her dream of developing this program when they announced their first Global Leadership Summit. All alumni of the scholarship program were able to enter, and thirty were selected through a competitive application process to attend an all-expenses-paid, ten-day leadership-training summit in Europe based on a proposed project and demonstrated leadership skills.
“I was thrilled when my special needs financial education project was selected. The Summit provided me with a new perspective on how impactful programs like the one I’d been creating could be and the opportunities to get others involved. Together, the community can come together to help special needs individuals to become independent. We don’t need to stop with financial literacy, those with specialized skill sets such as nutrition, time management, and even house keeping can help these valuable members of our community.”
Pictured: Summit Participants, including Emily Petrik, (Middle Row – 4 from Right)
The Summit took place in July of this year and has helped Emily to iron out pieces of her project. The program includes a six lesson curriculum on financial education that has been designed specifically with a special needs audience in mind. Throughout the year, she will continue to collaborate with her fellow Summit-attendees to use their experiences to better one another and accomplish their projects goals..
Emily went on to explain, “After successfully leading the course with special needs persons, I will then train employees of the local agencies that serve this population to be able to in turn teach it themselves. Passing on this encompassing curriculum means that any organization can teach it and help end the learned helplessness we all too often have forced upon the special needs community.”.
“Savings Institute Bank & Trust is proud of Emily’s accomplishments and her passion for helping provide the special needs community with financial independence is truly an asset,” stated Nereida Braasch, Branch Administrator and Vice President at the Bank.
Emily has worked with area non-profits such as ARC of Quinebaug Valley and EastConn to begin sharing her amazing program. If you’re an agency who’s interested in participating, please contact Emily at Emily_Petrik@banksi.com to learn more.