Statewide Young & Free Maine TV interview spurs spike in Bucks for Books entries; Promotes Maine CUs

Maine Credit Union League

In a statewide interview that aired on Saturday, September 10, just before the start of the TODAY Show on WCSH 6 and WLBZ 2, Young & Free Maine Spokester Jake Holmes offered tips and advice on how to help college students save on textbooks as well as highlighting the Bucks for Books promotion with Maine credit unions.  Minutes after the interview aired, visits and entries for the Bucks for Books contest showed a significant increase. 

Young & Free Maine Spokester Jake Holmes talks ways in which college students can save on textbooks while promoting the Bucks for Books contest with Maine's credit unions during a statewide interview that aired on WCSH 6 and WLBZ 2.

Young & Free Maine Spokester Jake Holmes talks ways in which college students can save on textbooks while promoting the Bucks for Books contest with Maine's credit unions during a statewide interview that aired on WCSH 6 and WLBZ 2.

"The cost of textbooks is a big challenge that college students and their parents face.  Having just finished college myself, I know first-hand how much textbooks cost, and the opportunity to help people with some creative ways to save money is what not only a part of what Young & Free Maine is all about but what credit unions are all about, too," remarked Holmes.

"The Bucks for Books contest is offering $1,500 in money to help college students with textbook expenses, and yet again highlights ways in which credit unions help their members and their communities.  It's been a great way to engage 18-25 year-olds, and build awareness for Young & Free Maine.  This is the second year we have offered this contest, and we have seen an increase over last year," explained Debra Trautman, Vice President of Corporate Marketing for the Maine CU League.

Jon Paradise, Vice President of Governmental and Public Affairs for the League, coordinated the interview and said, "Having the opportunity to tell our story and highlight credit unions to a statewide audience is something we always welcome and the timing came together.  It gave positive exposure to Young & Free Maine and to Maine credit unions."

During the interview, Holmes spoke about Young & Free Maine, provided some tips on how students can save on textbooks, and promoted the Bucks for Books contest.  The producer of The Morning Report on WCSH 6 and WLBZ 2 praised the segment.  "This was informative and engaging, and we were really happy with the segment."  The segment was also shared on both stations' Facebook pages.

With the entry deadline for Bucks for Books being September 15, the winners will be drawn on September 19, and announced shortly, thereafter.

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Don't Break the Bank on Textbooks


Did you know the average student will spend around $1,200 on college textbooks this year? Jake Holmes, a Young and Free Maine 'Spokester' for Maine's credit unions told us how to avoid breaking the bank on books.

Some tips:

1. Avoid the bookstores if possible

2. Check the library

3. Rent

4. Ask around campus or post on social media, someone older might have taken the class and have a book they aren't using. 

5. Go electronic, with Kindle versions and E-books, the price is often better and you can download them instantly

And you can win money right now to pay for your textbooks! Right now, Maine’s credit unions have the Bucks For Books contest through Young & Free Maine. You can win $500, $300 or $200 toward your college textbooks! The deadline to enter is September 15th at

Copyright 2016 WCSH

Original article

Young & Free Maine set to help with 'Back to School' book costs

Maine Credit Union League Update

After spending most of his first six weeks as the new Young & Free Maine Spokester on the road making appearances at the Old Port Festival, Whoopie Pie Festival, Moxie Festival, Maine Potato Blossom Festival, Lobster Festival and, most recently, the Great Falls Balloon Festival, Jake Holmes is doing what many Mainers are doing - focusing on back to school.  As students start returning to their respective colleges and universities for the fall semester, Young & Free Maine is again offering them the chance to win Bucks for Books.

This giveaway contest allows Maine students 18 years of age or older to enter for a chance to win prizes of $500, $300, or $200 by completing a brief form on New for 2016 is the opportunity to also enter the Instagram portion of the contest for an additional chance to win $500. To enter the bonus round, entrants must follow Young & Free Maine on Instagram and post a photo of themselves and their school with the hashtag #Bucks4BooksME.

"Being a recent college graduate, I know what it's like having to spend a lot of money on textbooks," stated Jake Holmes, 2016 Young & Free Maine Spokester. "All the money you save up during the summer seems to vanish after you leave the checkout line at the university bookstore. That's where Buck for Books comes in!"

Bucks for Books launched successfully last year, with entrants coming from 44 different credit unions.  The contest is open for entries through September 15. Winners will be announced on September 19. For full contest rules, please

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Young & Free Maine, Maine CUs rock Old Port Festival

Maine Credit Union League Update

On Sunday, June 5, Maine credit unions worked the crowd and there was a big one to work.  From local Mainers, to distant New Englanders and beyond, the 43rd annual Old Port Festival drew 50,000 people to Portland's downtown, and Young & Free Maine and Maine's credit unions were there connecting with many of them.  One of the highlights for festival goers was to witness the winners of the Maine Credit Unions' 2016 Sound-Off Competition, Happy Folk and Wyld Lyfe.

All smiles after visiting with thousands at the Old Port Festival on behalf of Maine credit unions are: Mallory Lavoie, former Spokester, and Jake Holmes, the new Young & Free Maine Spokester.

All smiles after visiting with thousands at the Old Port Festival on behalf of Maine credit unions are: Mallory Lavoie, former Spokester, and Jake Holmes, the new Young & Free Maine Spokester.

Young & Free Maine, powered by Maine's credit unions, was also on hand providing resources to and sparking conversations between Millennials about their personal finances and ways to save for their futures. Many who stopped by the Young & Free table, set up right next to the One City Center Super Stage, took to a chalkboard to write down their biggest financial challenges. Visitors received a Young & Free gum pack, which doubled as a Young & Free business card, or t-shirt for participating.

Jake Homes, Young & Free Maine's newest Spokester, representing the state's 18-25 age group remarked, "We had a blast! People who stopped by our table tended to stick around for a while. They were engaging in the chalkboard and were interested to read the challenges their peers were facing. Most discovered that they shared many of the same financial challenges, and found comfort in knowing they weren't alone."  "Festival goers were genuinely interested in what Young & Free was all about, and it was a great opportunity to connect with young Mainers. We are all faced with financial challenges, so it was a topic most young people in attendance could relate too."

For a recap of Young & Free Maine at this year's Old Port Festival, check out the video.

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New Young & Free Maine Spokester Announced

Maine Credit Union League Update

It's official!  Jake Holmes is the new Young & Free Spokester for Maine's 25-and- under crowd. The official announcement was made at this year's Convention during the 78th Annual Delegates' Meeting & Luncheon on Friday, May 20. Jake will assume the position, previously held by Mallory Lavoie for two consecutive terms, on Friday, June 17.

Jake, a native Mainer, first discovered his passion for sharing stories through his lens in high school. He went on to study video production at the New England School of Communications at Husson University in Bangor, where he received his Bachelor's Degree in Communications Technology in May. During college, Jake worked at WVII and WFVX, Maine's local ABC and FOX television affiliates, first as an intern, and then went on to be hired as a production assistant.

As a recent graduate, Jake began taking a better look at his finances and noted the interest rates and fees on his student loan payments. As the Young and Free Spokester, Jake hopes to, "spread awareness about the benefits of credit unions and help young people avoid the mistakes I've made" when choosing how and where to borrow money for education and other life expenses.

"It is very important for Millennials to learn about finances because we truly are the future of this state. I want to see Maine grow in a positive way," stated Jake. "I want to show people that it is possible to live and be financially stable in this beautiful state. I want to showcase all the fun and unique things you can do in Maine on a budget."

Debra Trautman, VP of Corporate Marketing for the Maine CU League, said Jake possesses the enthusiasm, passion and background "we were looking for in our next Spokester.  For the past two years, Mallory has generated lots of positive activity and growth for Young & Free Maine, and we believe Jake will continue the program on that path and offer new perspectives and ideas."

Jakes first appearance as the Young & Free Maine Spokester will be at the Whoopie Pie Festival in Dover-Foxcroft on Saturday, June 25. To check out Jake's announcement video, click here.

Young & Free Maine, powered by Maine's Credit Union, provides financial services customized for the 18-to-25 crowd. To learn more, visit the Young & Free Maine website.

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Contest provides positive 'noise' for Young & Free, Maine credit unions

Maine Credit Union League Update

Finalists in the band and soloist/duo categories of the Sound Off Music Competition gathered at the Next Generation Theater in Brewer on Thursday, March 31, to perform their original music live before a panel of judges. Portland-based duo Happy Folk and the band Max Ater & The Marshalls of Bath were the Grand Prize winners, with each group winning a $500 gift certificate to Main Street Music Studios and both will be performing at the 2016 Old Port Festival on Sunday, June 12.

Strong media coverage from local TV and radio provided positive awareness for the contest and the Young & Free Maine program.  Nik Hasenfus and Aria Zarnoski of Happy Folk spoke with WLBZ 2/WCSH 6 after their win. "It stresses the importance of working on something that you believe in, despite economic or other reasons you might decide not to," said Nik.  "[We're] chasing the dream, really, and just going at it no matter what," continued Aria. "If you have work, if you have school...For us, we're full time school students and full time workers. Music is hard, but we make it work. It's a passion and it's never going to die."

This was the fifth year that Young & Free Maine sponsored and hosted the Sound Off Music Competition. The contest is open to Maine residents between the ages of 18-25, and musicians may enter in one of two categories: band or soloist/duo. The four-judge panel was comprised of Andrew Clifford, President and Founder of Main Street Music Studios; Brad O'Brien, bass teacher and member of the trio River Bottom Funk; Jared Wilkinson, folk artist, jazz musician, and member of 2015 Sound Off winning band Sasquatch; and Josh Howes, Branch Manager of Maine Savings FCU.

"Maine Credit Unions really care about reaching that younger audience, so this is a great way to do that. We connect through music and give these young musicians a chance to win some really cool prizes," said Young & Free Maine Spokester Mallory Lavoie in an interview with WABI 5.

All finalists have been featured on the Young & Free Maine website. In addition to the prizes received by the Grand Prize winners, 1st Runner-Up finalists Logan Burns and the band Wyld Lyfe each won a promotional video, along with a DJ interview and live performance on WCYY 94.3. The 2nd Runner Up finalists Paige & Brooke and the band Hours North each won a customized marketing and promotional package.

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Maine Musicians Compete for Recording Time & Portland Performance

WABI TV5 | By Caitlin Burchill

Maine musicians had the chance to score some sweet prizes to kick start their career Thursday.

Young and Free Maine, a Maine Credit Union League program, hosted the “Sound-Off Music Competition” at the Next Generation Theater in Brewer.

After wowing people on social media, the top three groups and solo/duo acts, now had to impress the judges.

Winners went home with recording time at Main Street Music Studio in Bangor and a chance to play at the Old Port Fest in Portland.

“Everyone else is really great, so it was just kind of fun to be here and listen to the competition because they’re all really talented,” said Paige Bacon of “Paige & Brooke,” a country music duo from the Hermon area.

“Maine Credit Unions really care about teaching that younger audience, so this is a great way to do that. We connect through music and give these young musicians a chance to win some really cool prizes,” said Mallory Lavoie of Young and Free Maine.

Both winners in each category were from Southern Maine.

“Paige & Brooke” were second runners up for the solo/duo category. They received customized marketing materials.

List of winners, visit this website.

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