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Around Our Town...Family Finance

Wyoming Jump$tart Coalition for Financial Literacy

11/01/2005 - First convened in December, 1995, the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy determined that the average student who graduates from high school lacks basic skills in the management of personal financial affairs. Many are unable to balance a checkbook and most simply have no insight into the basic survival principles involved with earning, spending, saving and investing.

Many young people fail in the management of their first consumer credit experience, establish bad financial management habits, and stumble through their lives learning by trial and error.

In light of this over 35 businesses and organizations such as credit unions, banks, CPAs, community colleges, high schools, representatives from Wyoming's congressional delegation, state legislators, state agencies, foundations, development organizations and more, joined forces in July to form the Wyoming Jump$tart Coalition for Financial Literacy. Their mission is to raise the awareness of and improve the personal financial literacy of all Wyoming citizens.   

Wyoming Jump$tart President, Diana Stoick, Director of Member Services for the Wyoming Credit Union League said, "This is an exciting opportunity for many organizations in Wyoming, as we come together to promote financial education, share ideas and resources to improve financial literacy, especially among our youth." The Wyoming Jump$tart Coalition for Financial Literacy and the National Coalition believe it is critical that all young adults have the financial education skills necessary to make informed financial decisions. According to the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE), American teenagers spent approximately $172 billion dollars last year.

Jump$tart's tool for increasing financial literacy is a clearinghouse database of personal finance resources available from a variety of education providers such as government, business and non-profit organizations. Many of the materials are low cost or free of charge. Teachers often use personal finance teaching materials to support their state's standards in economics, business, math and family and consumer science.

Jump$tart promotes what's already available and connects the resources with the need.

Another important component of the organization is the biannual survey of senior high students to quantify their knowledge on personal finance. Wyoming schools will be participating for the first time and will receive state specific information along with national data.

The next Wyoming Jump$tart Coalition for Financial Literacy meeting will be held in Cheyenne on Feb. 14, 2005. Membership is open to anyone interested in the furtherance of financial literacy. Contact Diana Stoick, President of the Wyoming Jump$tart Coalition for Financial Literacy at 265-9250 for more information. For information about the National Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy visit www.jumpstart.org.

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