It’s not always easy to learn the rules of the game of life.
Approximately 290 ninth grade students found that out the other day, as the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce partnered with Michigan State Extension and the COPOCO Community Credit Union to present the Mad City Money program at Bay City’s Western High School.
Mad City Money, which teaches kids practical lessons about money, could spread to other schools in the county.The program is a live-action version of the classic board game, as students try to earn a living and provide for their families.
"The teachers have been saying that they haven’t seen their students so excited," says Lindsay Rotarius, director of education for the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce.
"The conversations are coming home, too. One parent was telling me that her daughter said she wanted to be a physician because of their income and then they had a long talk about school and debt.
"Parents are having conversations with their kids about their futures."
Mad City Money took place on Thurs., Dec. 12, at the high school.
During the game, students were assigned salaries and families, and then visited community volunteers to purchase goods and services.Students were given "about me" cards listing an occupation, salary, student loan debt, credit card debt, and medical insurance costs. Also listed is whether they have a spouse, are single, or are single parents.
They then went to nine merchants, made up of volunteers from the community, and were tasked with purchasing daily needs like housing and transportation. Random fates also occur, both to the benefit and detriment of participants.
Rotarius says the event is designed to teach students about fiscal responsibility. And they could be bringing it to more schools soon too.
"This is sort of a pilot program. We wanted to see if it would succeed so then we can bring it to other schools. The answer has been a resounding yes," Rotarius says.
"Now we’ll bring it to superintendents and see if we can host these at their schools."
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