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Financial Literacy for Everyone

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Two Utahns Recognized as National 'Innovative Educators' by Visa Inc. for Commitment to Personal Finance Education

South Park Academy Teacher and Counselor Selected for Bringing Creative Approach to Helping Prison Inmates Take Control of Their Financial Futures

January 22, 2010

San Francisco, CA – January 22, 2010 – For going above and beyond in the pursuit of financial literacy, teacher Gae Wagstaff and counselor Elaine Peterson of South Park Academy in Draper, Utah, were recognized today by Visa Inc. as national "Innovative Educators."

When they are not teaching personal finance to South Park Academy high school students, Ms. Wagstaff and Ms. Peterson are busy helping inmates in the Utah State Prison system learn about the value of money, including how to budget, save and invest it. The 18-hour, 9-week course is part of a life skills curriculum for inmates, which includes instruction in other areas such as goal setting, parenting, anger management, and job readiness.

To learn more about how both of these educators are helping inmates take control of their financial futures, please visit, the website for Visa's award-winning financial education program, Practical Money Skills for Life.

"Both of these innovative educators embody Visa’s longstanding commitment to ensuring that everyone understands the importance of responsible money management," said Jason Alderman, Visa’s director of financial education.

"I am honored to have been recognized by Visa for helping to bring personal finance education to individuals who need it," said Gae Wagstaff. "For many of my students, finances are what got them into trouble with the law. Their rehabilitation must include an understanding of money basics so they learn to make positive life decisions moving forward."

Ms. Peterson agreed. "Combating financial illiteracy on all fronts takes the coordinated effort of both the public and private sectors and so I appreciate all that Visa is doing to advance this effort both in Utah and nationally."

The Innovative Educator award is given to teachers nationwide who demonstrate a commitment to bringing personal finance education into their classroom. The award is part of Visa’s Practical Money Skills for Life Program.

Practical Money Skills for Life is an educator-developed and educator-approved program that helps students – from preschoolers and elementary school students, to teens and college students – learn the essentials of personal finance. Available in both English and Spanish at, educators, parents and students can access free educational resources. Visa also runs What’s My Score (, a leading higher education financial literacy program that guides college students through the ABC’s of credit scores.

About Visa Inc.
Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable digital currency. Underpinning digital currency is one of the world’s most advanced processing networks—VisaNet—that is capable of handling more than 10,000 transactions a second, with fraud protection for consumers and guaranteed payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank, and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa’s innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: Pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with credit products. For more information, visit

Contact: Steve Burke, CRC Public Relations, Tel: +1 703-683-5004, ext. 108

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Contact: Will Gale for Visa Inc., (336) 681-1274