I spent a lot of time searching for what exactly I wanted to do – LA has plenty of opportunities, but I wanted it to be meaningful. This is what I finally found:
JA Finance Park
Iana, a senior, was very competitive about the event. She flew through everything and was the first one done out of the entire group with each task. I think I had to help her twice. She says she wants to go to Stanford, and you know what? I think she’ll get in with a scholarship.
Since Iana was so self-sufficient, I spent most of my time with the other two. Esther is in 8th grade. She has a quiet determination about her. She was the only one in the group who definitely does not like math, but she held her own beautifully and didn’t let Iana’s speediness get her down. Slow and steady, that’s her way.
Tai is in 7th grade and she already knows exactly where she’s going to college and what she’s going to do to get a scholarship. Of the three, she was the most in touch with financial reality. She fully embraced the activity and took each section seriously, as if she were making real decisions about what would work for her, her pretend-spouse, and their two pretend-kids. She’s a saver, and she’s selfless about what she does spend: when she did the section on buying clothes for her family and realized that she’d be spending more on clothes for herself than anyone else, she changed her selection.
Sometimes it was frustrating for them. It was hard to understand why you have to subtract so much at the very start for taxes. When things didn’t balance out and they realized they’d have to make cuts, it was hard for them to cut out some entertainment, or get a car that wasn’t as nice, or make adjustments to the groceries or insurance so they could afford it. They had spent a lot of time thinking about each decision, and going back to change things was difficult. You could see the clarity coming to them as they realized that this is what life in the real world is like, and yet you have to make it work anyway. That was the point of the event - we were giving them tools to make it work, regardless of their situation.
This was quite a fulfilling day for me. I think I’ll probably go back again for more.
(Here's my one sneaky shot of some of the girls who attended.)
Happy birthday, Mom! I love you!