90 individuals from business, finance, academia, education, and government committed to providing financial education took part in a Life Simulation designed to help sensitize participants to the financial needs of low-wage working families.
Held at the University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC), the event was a partnership between the http://www.mncun.org and the https://mnjumpstart.wordpress.com.
“The life simulation experience is meant to deepen educators’ commitment to their most vulnerable community members and encourage understanding of the intense pressure financial difficulties put on individuals” said MnCUN President & CEO Mark Cummins.
During the three-hour activity, participants were grouped into “families” struggling to make ends meet in a simulated month of four fifteen-minute weeks. Each participant played a unique role within the family. These simulated families visited a variety of booths, including a school, employer, pawn shop and payday lender. Through the exercise, they encountered events and financial crises faced by many low-income Americans, including eviction, loss of utilities, lack of reliable transportation, crime, and the moment-to-moment stress of making ends meet. At the conclusion of the exercise participants shared their experiences and emotions in a powerful debriefing session.
“The Jump$tart board sought to provide an engaging experience to demonstrate the importance of personal finance in the everyday context of diverse households,” Minnesota Jump$tart Coalition Board President Karyn Thompson said. “The Life Simulation was a natural choice and we are thankful for the Minnesota Credit Union Network’s partnership.”
In addition to the Life Simulation, attendees heard remarks from Minnesota Department of Commerce Commissioner Jessica Looman. Looman praised attendees for their work in financial capability and underscored the department’s role as a resource for consumers’ financial wellbeing.
The Minnesota Jump$tart Coalitionis part of the national Jump$tart Coalition for Financial Literacy, which brings together individuals and organizations to improve the personal financial literacy of Minnesota’s Youth. The Coalition hosts an annual event or conference in April in celebration of National Financial Literacy Month. Other events and activities have included networking events for partners, webinars for young adults, scholarships for teachers to attend the national conference, a young adult mentoring program, and more. Minnesota Jump$tart can be found on social media on Facebook and Twitter (@mnjumpstart)
The Minnesota Credit Union Networkis the statewide trade association that works to ensure the success, growth and vitality of Minnesota credit unions. With nearly $20 billion in assets, Minnesota credit unions are local, trusted financial cooperatives that serve more than 1.6 million members at almost 400 branch locations around the state. As not-for-profit institutions, credit unions give back to the communities they serve. For more information, visit www.mncun.org