The cookie that could: Girl Scout cookie season is here!

GirlScouts_SW TEXAS_servicemark_croppedA Girl Scout cookie can do a lot. That’s because when you buy Girl Scout cookies, girls decide where the money goes.

Through Girl Scouting, girls become leaders in their daily lives and prepare for bright futures. The Girl Scout Cookie Program provides an important ingredient for leadership by helping girls develop five essential skills: goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics.

These skills give girls the talents and resources to make the world a better place because girls have big hearts and big imaginations. Proceeds from the Girl Scout Cookie Program fund a girl’s unique leadership experience and makes what is imagined possible.

A Girl Scout cookie could help buy school supplies for needy kids, send a care package to cheer up a soldier far from home or fly a troop of girls from San Antonio to Washington, D.C. where they’ll be motivated to become congresswomen or senators. The box of cookies you buy could be the one that inspires a president.

Many successful businesswomen credit their professional accomplishments to an early start selling Girl Scout cookies. Today’s Girl Scouts follow in their footsteps, and through participation in the Girl Scout Cookie Program, learn how to be members of a team, work toward a common goal, interact with customers in a professional manner, follow through on a commitment and strive to do their best.

With every season of Girl Scout cookies, another generation of girls gains these valuable skills. As women, they’ll need these skills, whether their goal is to start a business or a family.

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Everybody likes cookies. And there are a lot of cookies that taste good. These are cookies that do good:

  • Thin Mints – crisp mint wafer covered in chocolate
  • Samoas – vanilla cookie smothered in coconut, caramel and chocolate
  • Trefoils – delicate-tasting shortbread
  • Do-Si-Dos – crunchy oatmeal sandwich cookie with peanut butter filling
  • Tagalongs – topped with creamy peanut butter and covered in chocolate
  • Savannah Smiles — crisp, zesty lemon wedge cookies dusted with powdered sugar
  • Dulce de Leche – cookie rich with milk caramel chips and icing
  • Thank U Berry Munch – made with real cranberries and white fudge chips

Look for Girl Scouts in your neighborhood this month as they take orders for your favorite treat.

Beginning Feb. 7, Girl Scout cookies will be available for purchase in front of your local H-E-B and other neighborhood stores. Celebrate the Girl Scout Cookie Program with your favorite Girl Scout cookies during National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend (Feb. 7-8).

You can now download the Official Girl Scouts of the USA Cookie Finder app for your iPhone, iPad or Android phone. Your next box of Thin Mints is just a touch away! Just don’t forget to tell your friends—you can even post a cookie sale location to Twitter or Facebook.

For more information, visit

Want to join the fun? Visit to become a Girl Scout or volunteer today!

About Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas (GSSWT):
Based in San Antonio, Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas serves more than 33,000 girl members and adult volunteers in Atascosa, Bandera, Bexar, Comal, Dimmit, Edwards, Frio, Gonzales, Guadalupe, Karnes, Kendall, Kerr, Kimble, Kinney, Maverick, Medina, Real, Uvalde, Val Verde, Wilson and Zavala counties. Girl Scouting helps girls in grades K-12 develop the courage to experience new adventures, the confidence to defy self-doubt and the character to impact a community. For more information, visit





IBC Bank awards $19,000 in scholarships to area graduates

IBC Bank logoFor the 13th consecutive year, IBC Bank-San Antonio is promoting higher education by awarding a combined $18,000 in scholarships to 18 area high school graduates as they embark upon college and a new chapter of their adult lives. The students were awarded the A.R. Sanchez, Sr. Memorial Scholarship Award at a citywide reception Thursday, June 27 at IBC Bank-San Antonio’s Nakoma branch located off U.S. Highway 281.

IBC Bank-San Antonio began this market-wide scholarship initiative in 2001 to provide the opportunity for higher education to youth from low to moderate income households. Born into a humble family, Antonio R. Sanchez, Sr., the namesake of the scholarship award and the founder of IBC Bank, was a strong supporter of making higher education available to those interested in bettering their lives. Sanchez’s commitment to the power of learning lives on in the A.R. Sanchez Scholarship Award, which is bestowed annually upon deserving high school seniors in South Texas and the upper Gulf Coast area.

“The A.R. Sanchez, Sr. Memorial Scholarship Award tangibly demonstrates IBC’s ‘We Do More’ philosophy and reiterates the bank’s firm stance on promoting higher education in the community,” IBC Bank-San Antonio President and CEO Mike Sohn said. “These deserving high school seniors are the future business men and women of San Antonio, and we are proud to assist them in their pursuit of higher education.”

This year, IBC Bank-San Antonio presented a total of 18 A.R. Sanchez, Sr. Memorial Scholarship Awards, each valued at $1,000, across 11 area high schools. Scholarship award recipients included: Orlando Ordonez – Luling High School; Malaina Vargas – San Marcos High School; Ben Pelayo – Roosevelt High School; Valeria Sanchez, Sierra Zamarripa, Doris Pineda, and Brianna Luera – Fox Tech High School; Yael Garcia-Torrescano, Amanda Balderas – Robert E. Lee High School; Emerald Lopez and Jorge Cano – South San Antonio High School; Amber Rodriguez – James Madison High School; Amanda Collins – Douglas MacArthur High School; Evelyn Cray, Tony Dawson, and Rodney Miller-Whitby – Sam Houston High School; Narda Martinez-Saenz – International School of the Americas; and, Rigo Cardenas – Harlandale High School.

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In addition to their scholarship, students were provided a free “Get Smart About Credit” financial literacy course, presented by IBC Bank-San Antonio. Credit management techniques taught in this course empower students to develop strong financial habits for a lifetime. The course informed students about different types of credit, the importance of credit worthiness, keeping records for checking accounts and how to identify ways to save money.

IBC Bank-San Antonio is a division of International Bancshares Corporation (NASDAQ: IBOC), an $11.5 billion multi-bank financial holding company headquartered in Laredo, Texas, with 217 facilities and 337 ATMs serving 88 communities in Texas and Oklahoma. IBC Bank-San Antonio has been serving the Alamo City community since 1986 and has a retail branch network of 30 locations throughout the area. More information is available at Visit us on our YouTube channel, IBCBankWeDoMore. Member FDIC/International Bancshares Corporation.

Getting kids through college takes money smarts

Security Services Federal Credit UnionIn May, Security Service Federal Credit Union took its collegiate financial readiness course to the bilingual playing field, presenting at the UTSA Parent College and Career Readiness Academy at Café College.

It’s just one more collaborative in a series designed to address the challenges uncovered by the push for increased college enrollment. A movement, if you will, towards a focus not just on recruitment and admissions, but on the creation of a culture focused on degree completion.

All the work, says Letha Harrelson, business development manager in charge of youth education at SSFCU, is to help give teens a financial reality check and teach them how to make “smart, personal financial decisions when they enter into the independence of college life.”

Here’s the deal: it takes far more than academic preparedness to succeed at college. Kids have to be ready to take on the social and personal challenges, as well. And they have to be financially prepared if they are going to have a chance for a brighter, better future in college and beyond.

We know that college is critical: by 2018, 63 percent of all jobs in the US will require a postsecondary education, according to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. Yet, while enrollment is at an historic high, almost half of the students who begin college at a two- or four-year institution fail to earn a degree within six years, according to a report by the National Commission on Higher Education Attainment released earlier this year.

And the outlook after college isn’t so grand either with kids graduating strapped in debt, holding degrees that don’t match up to available jobs.

SSFCU takes this very personally. And, through its innovative financial literacy program is working to stem the tide of non-graduation with a three-pronged approach:

  1. Presenting an option where students can find internships and jobs before jumping straight into college…perhaps even pursue a college degree through tuition reimbursement at the hiring company. Not everyone is prepared to go right off to higher education after graduating high school.
  2. Collaborating on financial literacy: working with and through organizations that reach students with financial education specific to understanding the costs involved in college and options for funding that will help prevent extensive debt.
  3. Reaching parents to boost success: For some families, this generation of students will be the first to pursue higher education. For others, the financial landscape is confusing and seems out-of-reach, making them much less able to help navigate their kids through the financial aid process.

Comerica Bank Unveils ‘Community Resource Center’ at San Antonio’s Historic Ella Austin Community Center

Comerica-Sponsored Room Provides Computers, Wi-Fi Access, Financial Education Materials and Financial Literacy Training for Children, Adults and Seniors

ComericaBankBlueComerica Bank announced the opening of its first San Antonio “Comerica Community Resource Center” at the historic Ella Austin Community Center. The Community Resource Center contains new computers, Wi-Fi access, furniture, financial education books and materials focused on topics ranging from saving and budgeting to retirement planning and fraud.

San Antonio City Councilmember, Ivy Taylor, and Comerica’s Texas Market President, J. Patrick Faubion, helped dedicate the new Comerica Community Resource Center along with Ella Austin constituents, Comerica Bank employees and dozens of prominent community leaders at a check presentation and ribbon cutting ceremony.

Ella AustinIn addition to the $35,000 grant from Comerica to launch the Community Resource Center, it was also announced that local Comerica employees will teach a series of financial literacy workshops at Ella Austin starting this summer. The workshops, free and open to the public, will cover a variety of topics for children, adults and seniors including the basics of credit, budgeting, elder care abuse scams and retirement planning, and will be offered in both English and Spanish.

“While the Comerica Bank name is relatively new to San Antonio, we’re committed to serving this market as a trusted financial services partner to San Antonio businesses and families, and to helping community organizations like Ella Austin fulfill their missions,” said Comerica’s Faubion. “In addition to providing a grant to launch this access hub for economic self-sufficiency, the efforts of local Comerica Bank volunteers to teach the financial literacy workshop series will help local residents, including seniors, be successful in reaching their financial goals.”

“We are most grateful that Comerica Bank has come forward with its generous investment of $35,000 in our non-profit organization. By funding the new Community Resource Center, which is desperately needed, Comerica Bank is helping us give assistance, hope and the tools and resources in order for local San Antonio residents to improve their quality of life and financial well-being,” said Anthony Hargrove, Executive Director of Ella Austin Community Center.

Comerica Bank, through partner non-profits, currently operates two Comerica Community Resource Centers in Southern Dallas and one in Houston’s Third Ward.