Jeanne d’Arc Credit Union hosts Money Strong fair for Lowell High

Students at the housing booth at the JDCU Money Strong Fair

When I hear the term “experiential learning” I sometimes suspect it’s another piece of educational jargon but yesterday at the UMass Lowell Tsongas Center I saw first hand the value of such a method of instruction. The Jeanne d’Arc Credit Union held a “Money Strong” fair for more than 200 Lowell High School seniors in which each student was given a real life employment scenario complete with a monthly salary, some savings, and a credit card. The students then had to visit booths for housing, clothing, education & training, nutrition & health, furniture, insurance, transportation and luxury where the monthly expenses and one-time fees for these necessities of life were posted to each student’s account. There were many variables: some had better-paying jobs than others; some had more in savings; others were given “reality checks” such as an illness or an unexpected expense.

Having volunteered to work at the housing booth, I interacted with many of the students. They all took it very seriously and very quickly realized that having a better paying job and more money in savings makes life a whole lot easier. As the students talked their way through their financial predicaments, you could see that they were learning many valuable lessons.

Congratulations to Jeanne d’Arc for devoting the enormous amount of institutional resources, funding, and employee volunteers (who staffed most of the booths). The Money Strong fair was a great community service that will be of lasting benefit to all who participated.

Students receiving final instructions before starting JDCU Money Strong Fair