Finance Park Teaches Kids Fiscal Responsibility

Photo by Wayne Wallace

Photo by Wayne Wallace

The Great Recession brought into sharp focus the need to educate ourselves on financial matters—and Junior Achievement of Southern Nevada believes the learning should start early. To this end, the nonprofit is holding Finance Park November 13 through December 20 at the Las Vegas Library building Downtown. Just before leaving for a new post in California, former Junior Achievement of Southern Nevada development director Anne Browne explained the project.

What is Finance Park?
It’s kind of a three-dimensional game with 18 different kiosks [representing] businesses like banks, insurance agencies, retail shops. Kids are given identities such as age, occupation, income and marital status, and they “play” by doing basic things, such as buying a car. They have to figure out what they can afford and the order of the steps they have to take.

Who is it for?
Eighth-and-ninth graders in the Clark County School District. Right now we have 12 schools confirmed; that’s about 2,500 students.

What does the game, and the three weeks of in-class work that prepares students for it, teach?
It helps them understand the interdependence of institutions, and how to handle life tasks that involve money. We’re in the business of helping kids use their resources to become independent, smart individuals for Nevada. You hear so many negatives about kids dropping out of school, not working. This is a great way to disrupt that negative cycle.

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