Students from Wea Ridge Middle School are the first to experience Junior Achievement's Finance Park at the new Lafayette YMCA. Through various hands-on activities, students are able to identify career interests, evaluate the risks and benefits of saving and investing, as well as understand taxes, insurance and credit cards.
During the Finance Park simulation, students receive family scenarios, complete with a job, marital status and possibly children. They must create a family budget based on hypothetical life situations, income, existing savings and debt. Later, the students visit the park businesses to explore their options when shopping for their family's needs, including clothing, transportation, groceries and childcare -- without spending more than they earn.
Eighth-grade student Raegan Burns played the part of a single mom who works as a phlebotomist. "My child cost a lot of money," says Raegan. "I couldn't buy a car. I had to buy a bus pass."
Classmate Frankie Pettingill played the role of a teacher with one child. She discovered childcare and insurance took a big part of her budget. "We learned how to adult," says Frankie. "I never realized that children were so expensive."