Last month, Junior Achievement opened its doors to families participating in Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood (SPPN), a nonprofit that’s taking a proactive and preventive approach to the education opportunity gap. Our third floor experiential learning lab came to life with the sounds of excited children and parents arriving for a family event focused on financial literacy.
Parents in the SPPN program had been taking money management classes for several weeks prior to the family day event. Junior Achievement was brought in as the youth partner to teach these concepts to the children through age-appropriate lessons.
Together, JA and SPPN provided families with two days of fun, experiential programming where families learned about budgeting, money management, and saving. Parents were introduced to a variety of JA resources focusing on saving for college, career assessment, and financial planning. The younger kids teamed up with their parents to work through the JA Ourselves curriculum through fun, interactive stations set up in our experiential learning lab. Older students learned how to save money for a car, explored different STEM careers, and did a trial run of the JA Finance Park simulation.
Families were encouraged to learn together and discuss how they could apply what they learned to their own family situation. Parents helped make the topics age-appropriate for their children.
For example, one family used the JA Ourselves lessons to initiate a conversation about the 5th-grade child earning an allowance – what chores the child could do to earn money, what would be a fair amount to earn, what financial goals the family could work toward together, and how the child would apply the “save-spend-share” philosophy.