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Loras College Students Grow Financial Education Efforts in Dubuque

by Team Sammy


It started with Brian Kallback wanting his students to get involved and give back in the community. Brian is the Program Director, of Financial Planning  & Wealth Management at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa.

Anthony Berardi and Bill Luzzo responded to the call to service. They organized, trained and led the first Loras College Dream Big Read Financial Education project in April 2019 at Kennedy Elementary School. They read and led a successful Dream Big Read with twenty-five 4th graders.

Luzzo reported, "Walking out of the classroom, Anthony and I felt pretty good spreading Sammy’s mission of educating kids on how to save money. It seemed like the teacher enjoyed the experience as well. She said the students enjoyed having visitors and interacting with new people. Professor Kallback seemed to be happy, as we were rewarded with Shamrock Shakes on the way back to campus.


My name is Sawyer Marquardt and I am junior at Loras College. I am a Sport Management and Finance major with a minor in Financial Planning/Wealth Management. I am on the soccer team, a part of our
Financial Planning Association (FPA) chapter, and help run our Sport Business Club.

Through the FPA and financial planning coursework, I became aware of Sammy Rabbit's National Dream Big Read financial education project. With our new CFP Board-Registered Financial Planning Program and
FPA club chapter, we want to continue to be active in the Dubuque community. Last spring semester, Anthony Berardi and Bill Luzzo had the opportunity to share Sammy Rabbit's saving is a great habit and dream big messages with local elementary kids. With October being Financial Literacy Month, we thought it would be another great opportunity to spread the word on how important it is to start financial education when you are young. With my classmates Anthony Berardi, Bill Luzzo, Kody Rife, John Quinones, and Mark Histed, I took the challenge to educate third and
fifth graders at a local elementary school about positive money habits.


Preparation was relatively easy given this was Loras FPA’s second time leading a Sammy Rabbit Dream Big Read financial education experience. Anthony and Bill had initial phone calls with the creator of Sammy Rabbit, Mr. Renick. They each had follow-on conversations with new team members and got us ready to read and lead the elementary students.

Our next step was to figure out when and where to teach kids about money and share the Sammy message. Our Professor, Brian Kallback, has two kids at John Kennedy Elementary School in Dubuque, Iowa. So, we reached out to their teachers. They gave us the okay and we set a time and date to talk to their third and fifth grade classes. 

As a Sponsor of the National Dream Big Read, Professor Kallback received 100 Sammy Rabbit story books. This enabled us to give one copy to every student we read to. Each student receiving his or her own book made the experience that much better.


We decided to execute a plan similar to last semester since it worked well. We would: 

  1. Introduce ourselves and have a short discussions with students on saving.
  2. Read the story and stop periodically to ask questions and discuss points in the book we wanted to emphasize.
  3. Do a word search activity with students that highlighted key personal finance vocabulary.
  4. Have a final discussion with students reviewing language and key concepts.

Unfortunately, Mark was sick the day of the read and unable to participate. Anthony, Kody, and John read to the third grade class first. Then Anthony, Bill, and I read to the fifthgrade class. We alternated reading two pages at a time. This helped to keep everyone engaged. Since each student had their own copy of Sammy's Big Dream they followed along using their books. Throughout the readings, we would ask questions. The questions were different for each class. One question we asked was if anyone has planned to save up to buy something like Sammy Rabbit did. At the end of the story, we followed up and asked if they were successful or not in getting what they wanted. Additionally, we also asked, what factors helped the students and Sammy be successful saving money. 

Each class paid attention and had interesting answers to all of our questions. The teachers enjoyed having their student learn from someone in the community with a future in educating people in financial literacy. As well as learning our stories and what we want to do after college.

In the car ride back to campus, we reflected on a great experience. I personally found it interesting to see how the kids connected to saving a little bit of money at a time can result in something great in the future. 
My classmate Kody had this to say, “It was a fun experience being able to interact with the kids and point them in the right direction, financially and in their careers.”

Speaking for my classmates and myself, I would definitely recommend promoting financial literacy in your community. Sammy’s mission is a great way to spread the word about saving money for the future!

Related Posts
April 2019. LinkedIn Post. Brian Kallback, CFP (c), Program Director, Loras College Financial Planning  & Wealth Management

July 2019. Loras College Dream Big Read Community Service Project

August 2019. CFP Board Highlights Loras College Students Dream Big Financial Education Project