The Fantastic Future Me Tour sponsored by NEST 529, Nebraska’s College Savings Plans, will open Friday, May 22, at Grand Island Public Library, 211 N. Washington, St. The exhibit will be located in the children’s area and accessible during open hours through Sept. 1.
The exhibit will open as part of the library’s summer reading program kick off, which begins at 11 a.m. Following a magic show, Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg, Trustee of the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust, will greet guests and discuss the importance of saving for college. Refreshments will be provided by First National Bank.
The Fantastic Future Me Tour features an interactive exhibit where children envision themselves in future roles by creating personalized, one-of-a-kind avatars.
As a part of the Fantastic Future Me tour, NEST is offering incentives for families to begin saving for college. The first 50 families to open new NEST accounts using a Grand Island specific promo code, will each receive a $25 bonus in their accounts. And, the owner of one new account opened will win a $1,000 NEST scholarship. All new accounts using the Grand Island code will be entered in the $1,000 drawing. Details and information on opening accounts can be found at NEST529Direct.com/futureme. Click on Give and Drawings and Scholarships.
Before stopping in Grand Island, the tour made stops at Morton-James Public Library in Nebraska City, Millard Branch in Omaha, Elkhorn Valley Museum in Norfolk, 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.
"Grand Island Public Library is excited to be a partner in this high-quality project,” said library director, Steve Fosselman. “With our richness in resources, educational classes for youth, and community partnership with parents and teachers, our library helps make educational goals a reality. A child's fun exploration of future opportunities in life through this exhibit fits well with our library's educational mission, our children's museum-like Discovery Center, and our "Every Hero Has a Story" Summer Reading Program.”
“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.”
“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 explore career possibilities through Fantastic Future Me. 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,” said Treasurer Stenberg.
To use the Fantastic Future Me exhibit, children take photos of their faces using a large touch screen and camera, then drag and drop elements representing different careers and grown-up roles onto their own "Future Me" creations. Children can mix and match their personal interests and future aspirations to create 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 images 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 Grand Island Public Library
The Grand Island Public Library is the gateway for the people of our diverse community to achieve a lifetime of learning and literacy. The Grand Island Public Library promotes the Every Child Ready to Read Initiative of the American Library Association. We want students to be prepared and ready to read when they go to school and succeed in school and in life!
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.