State Treasurer Stenberg to Urge Parents, Children to Dream Big at Opening of
Fantastic Future Me at Nebraska City Library

State Treasurer Don Stenberg will help kick off the official opening tonight of the Fantastic Future Me exhibit at the Morton-James Library in Nebraska City, urging children to dream big and parents to save for those dreams through the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust, Nebraska’s state-sponsored college savings program.

“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,” Stenberg said in remarks prepared for delivery.

Preston Wieckhorst of Nebraska City shows off an autographed Husker football he won in a drawing at the official opening of Fantastic Future Me at the Morton-James Library in Nebraska City.

“Studies show that children who have college savings accounts in their names are six times more likely to go to college than children who do not have college savings plans,” he said. “My message to you, parents and grandparents, is to encourage your children’s hopes and dreams by visiting the library often, to look into Nebraska’s college savings program, and to start saving for your children’s future college education now when they are young.”

To the children, Stenberg said, “Dream big, work hard, try on lots of different (career) hats, read all the books you can, never give up, and save your money for a rainy day.”

As the father of four and grandfather of nine, Stenberg said, “I know that when adults interact with children one of the first questions adults often ask is this: What do you want to be when you grow up? Now, in Fantastic Future Me, children have a chance to try on a few hats, so to speak, to see what careers might suit them and to imagine the endless possibilities. 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.”

“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,” Treasurer Stenberg tells the group attending the exhibit opening.

Stenberg will be among the guests for the official opening of Fantastic Future Me, a traveling interactive exhibit in which children envision themselves in future roles by creating personalized, one-of-a-kind avatars with their photos. The exhibit, sponsored by First National Bank of Omaha, has traveled to children’s museums in Lincoln, Hastings, Kearney, Norfolk, and North Platte and is now traveling to libraries. Before coming to Nebraska City, it was at the Millard branch of the Omaha Public Library.

A permanent Fantastic Future Me exhibit is located at the Omaha Children’s Museum. The traveling exhibit will remain at the Nebraska City library through Dec. 30.

First National Bank is program manager of the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust. Treasurer Stenberg is Trustee. NEST has more than 220,000 accounts nationwide, include 63,000 in Nebraska. These accounts are set up by parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles for a child or grandchild and by adults themselves who want to resume their education. A NEST savings account can help pay for qualified expenses at a community college, a technical college, or at a four-year college or university, here in Nebraska and in schools across the country.

The Nebraska College Savings Program offers four qualified tuition plans under Section 529 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. The four plans are the 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 is the Program Trustee, and First National Bank of Omaha is the Program Manager. Investments are approved by the Nebraska Investment Council.

Incentives to help families start saving are being offered as a part of the Fantastic Future Me tour. The first 50 new NEST Direct College Savings Plan accounts opened in association with the Nebraska City destination will each receive a $25 bonus contribution. All new NEST Direct account owners also will be entered to win one $1,000 scholarship. Official rules and information on opening accounts can be found at Click on Maximize Your Savings and Drawings and Scholarships.

Treasurer Stenberg with Morton-James Library staff, from left, Katherine Smith, library assistant; Louan Beard, assistant director; Barbara Hegr, director; Denise Davis, clerk; Lisa Guthals, library assistant; and Sue Bennett, assistant director.
Children gather in the parking lot for piñata games and a chance to tour vehicles used by professionals in the community.
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