ATLANTA, GA—JA of Georgia brought important financial literacy lessons to students in Atlanta as part of a contribution from AT&T and its AT&T Aspire initiative. Seventh grade students at Columbia Middle School experienced the 13-week JA Finance Park® program, which helps students build a foundation of personal finance skills through in-class learning and an experiential and authentic simulation.
JA Finance Park® begins in the classroom, with teacher-led lessons about topics like income, saving, debit and credit. The program culminates in an immersive half-day simulation onsite at the JA Chick-fil-A Foundation Discovery Center. The simulation gives students the opportunity to apply classroom learning by creating a family budget based on hypothetical life situations assigned to the students, such as job, salary, and family situation.
“Many of these students haven’t been exposed to managing finances, either because they haven’t had those conversations with their parents or haven’t had access to financial literacy programs in school,” said Jack Harris, President & CEO, JA of Georgia. “At JA Finance Park®, we aren’t just telling students how to manage budgets; we’re giving them the opportunity to make decisions and dictate the outcomes themselves.
At JA Finance Park students have the rare opportunity to experience their personal financial futures first-hand. The immersive simulation, combined with the relevant experience of the volunteers, enables students to develop skills to successfully navigate today’s complex economic environment, and discover how decisions today can impact tomorrow.
“It is important to give every student an equal opportunity to learn basic financial skills like budgeting, managing credit and understanding a salary,” said Diane Watson, AT&T Services. “Watching that moment when it ‘clicks’ for a student is what makes this such an important investment – seeing them understand the tradeoff for buying those basketball season tickets is that their family may not be able to buy groceries that month. Students walk away with a much better understanding of what sacrifices their parents make for them and what it means to be a financially responsible adult.”
Established in 2003, JA Finance Park® is one of Junior Achievement USA's most successful programs, and more than 1 million students across the United States have gone through the experiential learning program since it first began.
The partnership between JA of Georgia and AT&T is a continuation of their joint commitment to providing learning experiences that help young people in the community develop the competence, confidence and character to make smart academic and economic decisions. AT&T volunteers assist in the delivery of JA Finance Park®, as a part of the company’s Aspire Mentoring Academy program. Through Aspire Mentoring Academy, AT&T employees connect with students to help them discover their passions and potential. Aspire Mentoring Academy is part of AT&T Aspire, the company’s signature initiative to promote student success in school and beyond.
See what students and executives are saying about JA Finance Park®: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TaPFDYRdSVY
About Philanthropy & Social Innovation at AT&T
AT&T Inc. is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its community initiatives, AT&T has a long history of investing in projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; or address community needs. In 2014, nearly $127 million was contributed or directed through corporate-, employee-, social investment- and AT&T Foundation-giving programs. AT&T Aspire is AT&T’s signature education initiative that drives innovation in education by bringing diverse resources to bear on the issue including funding, technology, employee volunteerism, and mentoring.