Financial Literacy 101 Pilot Program Was a Big Success!

Posted At : April 6, 2009 9:16 PM

Congratulations to Ginny Hatfield and the San Fernando Valley Branch!

To celebrate Financial Literacy month the SFV branch showcased a very successful Financial Literacy 101 pilot project on April 2nd. Three AAUW CA Directors volunteered and had the great pleasure of doing a worthwhile community service while fulfilling AAUW’s vision of education, research and advocacy.

Junior Achievement provided a daylong workshop with the collaboration of a number of entities and provided the facility used. Four high schools of the L.A. Unified School District participated by sending more than eighty students from their 11th and 12th grade classes.

From 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. they learned how to plan and live on a monthly budget, which they created from the individual criteria they were given. A 10,000 square foot “finance park” hosts 15 local store fronts like Bank of America, City Bank, SCE, Toyota, Sports Chalet, a grocery store, and various entertainment venues.

During the JA Budget Challenge, students took on the challenge of a simulated life situation, a scenario that specified age, marital status, income level and even children. The students created and maintained a balanced budget based on their net monthly income by making appropriate financial decisions like buying a house, purchasing a car, choosing a health insurance package, making a credit payment, buying food, paying for entertainment, donations to charities while saving a minimum of 3% for rainy day fund. They also tracked their investments in the stock market, paid bills and reconciled their checkbooks. They learned about payroll taxes and 401K’s as well.

There were twenty volunteers to help the students and guide them through the process. The students created their personal budget, calculated net monthly income, conducted pricing research by visiting different shops and assessed their investments. They also used percentages to calculate minimum and maximum spending allowances to stay within their budgets. They learned to set their financial priorities and make important spending decisions.

It was the most successful workshop I have ever attended. To achieve financial fitness for life, a strong foundation needs to be laid early in life.  This program achieved that goal.  It is an ideal community outreach program in which community volunteers can participate and students can carry home AAUW’s name.

This program fulfills the Financial Literacy committee’s goal of doing a pilot project that can be replicated by other branches and Interbranches in the future. The IBCs in Southern California can easily put together a similar program. If any of the branches or IBCs need information please get in touch with the Financial Literacy director or contact Vanessa Stedman for more information regarding Junior Achievement Finance Park in Southern California at

Bakula Maniar
Financial Literacy Director

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