SKOWHEGAN, Maine - On March 29th Skowhegan Savings and Jobs for Maine Graduates (JMG) joined forces to host the second annual "Life's Dollars and $ense" Financial Literacy Fair, providing Skowhegan, Madison and Carrabec High School seniors with a hands-on opportunity to learn about, and demonstrate proficiency in, personal finance.
The event took place at Skowhegan Area High School, an area in which many people are still dealing with the devastating effects of the recession - including job losses, home foreclosures, bankruptcies, and other family emergencies. Despite this, the majority of high school students in this area do not receive comprehensive financial literacy lessons.
In response to this need, Skowhegan Savings and JMG created the "Life's Dollars and $ense" Financial Literacy Fair to bring financial literacy education to over 200 students in Somerset County. During the event, students took part in a financial literacy simulation in which they visited various booths staffed by Skowhegan Savings volunteers, where they faced choices about how to allocate their simulated budget.
"The fair was an incredible success this year," said Karen Hart, Skowhegan Savings Branch Manager. "We just about doubled attendance from last year, and students came away asking great questions, and with a much better understanding of how to balance budgets and allocate money in real life situations."
During the simulation, students also learned the impact of their short-term financial choices on their long-term financial health. The impact of things like damaged credit scores, defaulted loans, and other common mistakes were included in the simulation.
"JMG does such a great job of making the simulation as realistic as possible," said Karen Hart. "They do a lot of work for this event, and we at Skowhegan Savings are really thrilled to work with them. This event is a very valuable learning experience for students."
After two successful years of co-hosting the program, Skowhegan Savings says the event has been so well received; they plan to make it an annual event.