State Treasurer Don Stenberg opened the Fantastic Future Me exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Central Nebraska in Hastings on Friday as guests checked out the interactive exhibit that encourages children to dream big.
The traveling exhibit will remain at the Hastings museum through Sept. 15 before moving to the Kidzone-Kearney Area Children’s Museum in Kearney. The exhibit is sponsored by First National Bank of Omaha, program manager for the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST). Treasurer Stenberg is Trustee of NEST, Nebraska’s state-sponsored 529 college savings program, which takes its name from Section 529 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.
“At NEST, we talk about children dreaming for their futures and parents and grandparents saving for those dreams. The theme fits perfectly with today’s event here in Hastings as children begin to explore Fantastic Future Me. Boys and girls can picture themselves as artists or computer programmers, as scientists or teachers, as pilots, and even as the President of the United States,” Stenberg said in prepared remarks.
As a parent and grandparent, Stenberg said he knows children are often asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” The Fantastic Future Me exhibit gives children a glimpse of the endless ways to dream about that commonly asked question and a chance to visualize many of the possibilities for their futures, he said.
“How these children envision their futures is up to them, but the adults in their lives have a very important role to play in how the children get there. My message to you, adults, today is to encourage your children’s hopes and dreams, look into Nebraska’s college savings program, and start saving for your children’s future now when they are young,” Stenberg said. “My message to you, children, is this: Dream big, work hard, never give up, and save your money for a rainy day.”
The Fantastic Future Me exhibit, which enables children to envision themselves in future career roles, recently was hosted at the Lincoln Children’s Museum where museum officials said the popular exhibit was sought out by visitors. Children waited patiently in lines to pose to have their pictures taken in the interactive exhibit and to create their own Future Me profiles.
One Lincoln museum staff member said she watched children change their minds over and over again because the options seem endless. The staff member said: “The message of this exhibit falls right in line with what we want to convey here: that kids really can be anything they want and the best way to discover that is to try on a number of different ‘hats.”
A permanent Fantastic Future Me exhibit is in place at the Omaha Children’s Museum.
NEST is a tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan and provides four plans to help make saving for college simple and affordable: NEST Direct College Savings Plan, the NEST Advisor College Savings Plan, the TD Ameritrade 529 College Savings Plan, and the State Farm College Savings Plan. The Nebraska State Treasurer serves as Program Trustee. First National Bank of Omaha serves as Program Manager, and all investments are approved by the Nebraska Investment Council. Families nationwide are saving for college using Nebraska’s 529 College Savings Plans, which have more than 261,000 accounts, including 84,000 in Nebraska. Visit NEST529.com and treasurer.nebraska.gov for more information.