Blevins Middle School 8th-graders recently took on real-life situations and practiced how to maintain a realistic budget at Junior Achievement’s Finance Park.
Upon entering JA Finance Park, each student was presented with a unique life situation which identifies the details of their adult persona including marital status, number of dependents, education, employment and income. The on-site activities are designed to allow students the opportunity to put what they have learned in the classroom into action and to understand the basic steps of maintaining a realistic personal budget.
The JA Finance Park experience begins in the classroom with a month-long curriculum that culminates in day at the Park, where students immerse themselves in a reality-based decision-making process addressing aspects of individual and family budgeting, including housing, transportation, food, utilities, healthcare, investments, philanthropy and banking.
Gabby Wymore, Blevins social studies teacher, said students benefit from Finance Park in a number of ways.
“It provides students with a real-life opportunity to learn about financial situations and how to budget. We want our students to become responsible and informed members of society and how to deal with their personal finances,” said Wymore, adding that the program meets the new Personal Finance Literacy standards. “We plan on continuing this program with our 8th-graders next year and a goal I have is to eventually bring the program to all 8th-graders in Poudre School District.”
Eighth-graders Maddie Murray and Madison Lorenz said Finance Park offered them a fun and educational experience.
“The park was set up like a little town; it was actually realistic. I went home and taught my Mom how to budget,” said Murray.
“I had time to feel a little “grown up.” I learned how to manage money and be financially successful,” said Lorenz. “It was a blast!”
Sonia Muniz, 8th-grader, believes Finance Park will help her and others as they go forward in life.
"I really am interested in creating a better future for myself and others. So everybody can bring their kids into this world without a worry of when they grow older if they are going to eat one night, or where they’re going to sleep the next,” Muniz said. “I can’t help myself unless these teachers help me. I actually want to make a difference in this world.”
Presented by Great-West, JA Finance Park directly complements new scholastic economic, math and reading, writing and communication standards including 21st century skills and concepts by immersing students in a fictional life situation and community.