"Money Fair can save our lives"
Money Fair is held at The Business and Economic Academy Milwaukee (BEAM) and sponsored by BMO Financial Group as part of Talk With Our Kids About Money Day (TWOKAM).
It’s one thing to get an opinion from a teacher regarding how Money Fair benefits students. But it’s another thing entirely to hear it from the horse’s mouth. Especially when, as in the case of two sixth-grade boys named Kasim Surveyor and Erin Frazier, they recognize their newfound skills can have a positive impact on their lives.
The duo recently competed in Money Fair, which saw them research the topic of payday loans during an after-school program, and then make a presentation in front of a judging panel. The boys described the learning process as being completely different than what transpires in the classroom, and in particular, appreciated the ability to "go more in depth and really study the topic." Says Erin: "In class, we learn material, do a worksheet, put it in our binders and move on. But with Money Fair, you have to present what you learned, so it’s something you really want to learn as much as possible about, in case judges or people at the fair ask questions."
The bulk of research for Money Fair — recently honored with the Governor of Wisconsin's Financial Literacy Award — is completed independently, with the students being required to visit the library and rely on computers to find information. They also get to decide "what’s a viable topic" in the first place, says Erin, which increases their willingness to participate and their passion for the project.
As a result, the lessons learned are less likely to be forgotten and more likely to have a long-lasting influence. Kasim, for instance, realized that his Money Fair experience could affect his everyday life when he tried to convince his mother not to visit a Payday loan store. "I told her she would have to pay back more money than she got originally, but she ended up going anyway."
Both boys are aware of the importance of their recent financial knowledge and are "starting to think more about the choices they make and their impact," says Erin, who participated in the Money Fair for the second consecutive year. And those choices, adds Kasim, have the ability to shape their futures: "If we don’t learn about certain topics, we could go into debt or trash our credit. We could even go so far into debt that we end up homeless. This money fair can save our lives."
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