More than 10,000 students in 550 schools across North Texas are learning about financial responsibility to prepare them to manage money successfully in adulthood, thanks to a unique education program sponsored by Landmark Bank.

Featuring real-life scenarios that bring money-management lessons to life in a meaningful way, Banzai is an interactive, online curriculum that introduces students to adult financial issues and simplifies complex financial problems through practical application. The program aligns with state curriculum for personal finance education.

“At Landmark Bank, we want to help families strengthen their understanding of their finances — to learn how to bank smarter,” says Sabrina McDonnell, Landmark Bank executive vice president and chief administration executive. “The program educates our community’s kids and helps boost that financial strength for our families. We have invested in this program to continue our mission to help develop financially sound communities.”

Through Landmark Bank’s sponsorship, area schools can use the web-based program and receive activity kits for their classrooms at no charge. Three courses are available through the Landmark sponsorship: Banzai Junior for ages 8 to 12, Banzai Teen for ages 13 to 18 and Banzai Plus for adults.

“This program teaches students how to become more productive citizens by teaching them the importance of how to handle money,” says Valarie Long, teacher at Leonard Evans Jr. Middle School.

In each course, choose-your-adventure scenarios play out to teach participants about choices and consequences related to money management. Teachers are then able to lead discussions about decision-making and the trials, errors and success that each student experiences.

“Too often students get out of school, and they just aren’t ready for the financial roller coasters life can give us,” says Morgan Vandagriff, co-founder of Banzai. “More than ever, it’s important that kids develop sound financial skills to prepare them for the real world. Landmark Bank realizes that, and they’re doing something about it. Banzai teaches students to navigate those twists and turns and come out on top. We’re excited to work with Landmark Bank to improve financial literacy in local schools.”

Landmark Bank plans to expand its sponsorship of the financial literacy program to include participation by churches and local civic organizations in 2019 in order to reach more families.

For a list of participating schools or to request sponsorship for your school, visit landmarkbank.teachbanzai.com.

Landmark Bank began as a family business in the early 1900s with a single branch in Mountain View, Missouri. Since then, Landmark has grown to $3 billion in assets, serving 27 communities with 42 locations across Missouri, Texas and Oklahoma. In Texas, Landmark serves customers at branch locations in Collinsville, Denison, Frisco, Gainesville, Gunter, Pottsboro, Sherman, Van Alstyne, McKinney and Whitesboro.