BY CHRIS SILBERMAN
Denver-area students are showing strong gains in personal financial literacy skills and outcomes, according to a recent impact report by Junior Achievement-Rocky Mountain (JA). The nonprofit organization, now 100 years old, provides hands-on learning opportunities to students in kindergarten through 12th grade in the areas of financial literacy, entrepreneurship and career readiness.
The report shows that 82 percent of 11th grade students said they will use a budget to plan their spending and savings after participating in the organization’s JA Finance Park presented by Transamerica program. This is a 200 percent increase over the pretest scores. The report also shows that 11th grade students are more likely to talk to adults about their financial goals.
“These results show this is a perfect time in every student’s educational journey to be introduced to personal finance skills and think about how to plan for their future after high school,” said Chris Silberman, director of communications for JA. “It sets them up for success because they understand how to set and follow a budget and how to make responsible financial decisions that will impact their life goals.”
The benefits are long-lasting. Overall, JA alumni incur less debt than their peers, and are now earning 20 percent more than the general population. Seventy-five percent have a positive view of the American free enterprise system.
“Students are optimistic about their future success after participating in JA programs. Optimism is a driver for self-motivation and self-sufficiency,” Silberman said.
JA lessons are conducted in classrooms around Denver, as well as outside of the classroom for experiential learning opportunities. Programs are free of charge to schools and are led by corporate and individual volunteers from the community.
“Financial education must be introduced early in childhood and reinforced throughout one’s life,” said Cassen LaBounty, managing director and head of Direct Contact Center at TIAA in Denver. TIAA provides hundreds of employee volunteers in JA classrooms throughout the year and is also JA’s sponsor for financial literacy month during the month of April. “We are thrilled to work with JA to help our community’s youth begin to build the financial knowledge they need—knowledge that will serve as a foundation for success for years to come.”
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