On Tuesday, Sept. 16, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., the Fantastic Future Me Tour sponsored by NEST, Nebraska’s 529 College Savings Plans, will celebrate its official grand opening at Morton-James Public Library, 923 1st Corso Street. Free hotdogs, cookies and cotton candy will be served and there will be activities, crafts and prizes.
The Fantastic Future Me Tour features interactive exhibits where children envision themselves in future roles. The opening celebration will include activities inspiring kids to think about their future including a scavenger hunt and visitors from the community representing various professional roles These guests will talk with kids and families about their jobs. And, kids will have the opportunity to tour vehicles like a fire truck, mail truck and police car used by community workers.
Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg, Trustee of the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust, will join families for the celebration to greet guests and discuss the importance of saving for college.
As a part of the Fantastic Future Me tour, NEST is offering incentives for families to begin saving for higher education. The first 50 families to open new accounts using a Nebraska City-specific promo code, will each receive a $25 bonus in their account. And, the owner of one new account opened will win a $1,000 NEST scholarship. All new accounts using the Nebraska City code will be entered in the $1,000 drawing. Details and information on opening accounts can be found at NEST529Direct.com/futureme – click on Maximize Your Savings and Drawings and Scholarships.
Before stopping in Nebraska City, the tour made stops at Omaha Public Library – Millard Branch, Elkhorn Valley Museum, Kearney Area Children’s Museum, Lincoln Children’s Museum, Children’s Museum of Central Nebraska in Hastings and North Platte Area Children’s Museum where it was met with much success, including more than 140,000 visitors.
“At NEST, we talk about the importance of children dreaming for their futures and parents and grandparents saving for those dreams. The theme fits perfectly with this traveling exhibit as children begin to explore career possibilities through Fantastic Future Me. I can’t think of a better place for children to imagine their futures than a public library filled with books to stretch the mind and the imagination, to introduce interesting characters, and to take children on all kinds of exciting adventures,” said Treasurer Stenberg.
“NEST is committed to encouraging parents and children to dream of the future," said Deborah Goodkin, Managing Director, First National Bank of Omaha, Program Manager for NEST. "The Fantastic Future Me Tour furthers that commitment by providing families across the state of Nebraska with information and incentives to get a jump start on saving for college. Recent studies have shown that children are six times more likely to attend college if they have a savings account in their name. Children saving money in banks and parents saving in NEST 529 plans help children and parents together begin to achieve those dreams.”
To use the Fantastic Future Me exhibit, a child takes a photo of his or her face using a large touch screen and camera, then drags and drops elements representing different careers and grown-up roles onto his or her own "Future Me." Children can mix and match their personal interests and aspirations to create their one-of-a-kind future selves. Careers and roles range from artist to programmer, scientist to teacher, pilot and even President of the United States.
Future Me's can be shared by email and on Facebook and Twitter. When the email arrives in the user’s inbox, it includes the one-of-a-kind Future Me avatar along with messages about dreaming for the future and saving for those dreams.
Fantastic Future Me was created by Omaha Children’s Museum and inspired by the organization’s work with Dr. Shane Lopez, Gallup Senior Scientist and an architect of the Gallup Student Poll. Gallup’s research shows that excitement about the future and thinking about oneself in a positive future role creates hope. More hopeful people go to school more often, get better grades and even live longer than people who are not hopeful. Thinking about what you want to be when you grow up is one way that children can get excited thinking about their future and understanding the steps necessary to get there. Future Me helps children do all of this while having fun.
"Investing in the future pays off today," says Lopez. "That's what parents will notice when their kids find hope in Fantastic Future Me." Lopez is the leading authority on the psychology of hope. He has worked with Omaha Children's Museum for several years to help infuse positive psychology into exhibits and program concepts.
About Morton-James Public Library
For more than 100 years, the Morton-James Public Library has been serving the citizens of Nebraska City and surrounding areas. The mission of the Morton-James Public Library is to welcome and support all people in their enjoyment of reading and pursuit of lifelong learning. We strive to provide equal access to quality materials and services to meet the community’s informational, educational, recreational, and cultural needs through books, technology, programs and other resources. We believe in the freedom to read, to learn, and discover. Learn more at morton-jamespubliclibrary.com.
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.