I was lucky enough to get invited by Linda Schoelkopf of Junior Achievement of Dallas to a financial literacy press event in Irving, TX last week.

Because we at Sunshine Avenue are all about shining a light on the good that social enterprises and their corporate partners are doing in the world, I jumped at the chance.  We always want to see the best practices in nonprofit marketing at work.  And what an “ah-ha” moment this event turned out to be!

The press event launched a new phase of a national educational initiative called Capital One/Junior Achievement Finance Park that helps kids improve their financial literacy before they enter the working world.  Check out this video to see how this innovative program helps kids make the connection between income and lifestyle.  Capital One Junior Achievement Finance Park in Irving ISD

What a brilliant idea!  Our young people are facing the toughest job market we’ve ever seen.  But getting a job is just the first step toward achieving economic freedom and stability.  Wisely managing money and learning how to stay financially afloat (and maybe even grow your money tree) is now more important than ever. And financial literacy isn’t often taught in school.

Previously a touring mobile education unit, Capital One/Junior Achievement Finance Park now can be set up inside schools for extended periods of times.  The experience begins in the classroom with a four-week curriculum covering topics like saving and investing, taxes and salary, personal budgeting and career goals.

The in-class curriculum culminates in a one-day simulation where each student is assigned a fictional adult life situation so they can experience firsthand the real-life challenges of making financial decisions for themselves and their families. The students visit 19 business kiosks that require them to make decisions about housing, transportation, insurance, groceries, utilities and unexpected financial emergencies.

The ingenious thing about these kiosks is that companies can sponsor them.  For example, AT&T sponsored the kiosk where kids make decisions about what they’re going to spend on entertainment services like subscription TV.  Talk about a win/win!   I thought this was an excellent way for companies to get reinforce their brand in a socially responsible way and for Junior Achievement to raise funds to help them deliver much needed services to those in need.  JA did some great social impact marketing with this one.

Kudos to JA and Capital One for this truly inspired program.  At Sunshine Avenue we’re thinking about what increased financial literacy could mean.  Less personal debt.  Smarter purchasing and borrowing decisions.  Fewer foreclosures and bankruptcies.  A stronger national economy.  Peace of mind and a more successful – and less stressful — life.  Isn’t that what we all want for America’s kids when they grow up?


2 Responses to Preparing to succeed in the “real world”

  1. Bobbi Henson says:

    What a cool program! I wish my son would have had access to something like this when he was in school.

  2. Valerie – Thanks so much for sharing informaiton on JA Finance Park – just one of JA’s programs focused on ensuring that our kids develop the skills and attitudes they will need to own their future economic success!

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