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Launch Okanagan is excited to partner with Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union on their Matched Saving program – a year-long program that educates, mentors, and equips individuals with financial literacy to transform their lives.

Valley First has been a long-time supporter of Launch’s Matched Savings program, providing banking services and financial advice to many of the program’s participants.

“Financial literacy has always been an important need in the community, but even more so over the past couple of years as we’ve seen living costs increasing and budgets tightening,” says Sheila Ehlert, Board Director at Launch. “When like-minded local organizations come together, great things happen— and we see this first-hand with the Valley First and Launch partnership resulting in a Matched Savings’ program filling a huge need in the community.”

Ehlert also works as the Director of Retail Banking at Valley First which has given her deeper insight into the impact a program such as this has on the community.

The Matched Savings Program started over 10 years ago to not only equip lower-income individuals in our community with vital financial management skills, but also give them opportunities to reach their personal goals through incentivized savings. The result is over 100 graduates and lives impacted to date leading to empowered, confident, and financially independent graduates. Program demand has increased substantially over the last year, so corporate sponsors, like Valley First, are needed more than ever to keep launching lives in our community.

A recent graduate explains how this program impacted her life. “This program created hope for me. I have a lot more control over my finances now. I’ve never saved before, but I just saved $600 and realized that it wasn’t that hard. Even after graduating I have continued to save! This program gave me confidence and I know I can accomplish things. I have taken control back in my financial life and I’m forever grateful for that.”

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In the attached photo from left to right: Dustin Read, Branch Manager Downtown Kelowna Branch; Jason Garrett, Branch Manager Rutland Branch; Jennifer Robins, Executive Director Launch Okanagan; Kylaina Dermedy, Branch Manager Guisachan Branch.