Letters
Letters for 02-23-2017

Giving students a glance of future
Adults like to tell teenagers to enjoy the
best years of their lives.
In high school, they have few if any
financial worries. For many, the greatest is
wondering will their parents provide enough
money for them to make it through the
weekend.
Through a program offered by the United
Way of Northeast Louisiana, over 120 Union
Parish students were recently given a glimpse
of reality. They took part in the Dollars and
$ense Reality Fair hosted by United Way
of Northeast Louisiana at the Willie Davis
Recreation Center.
Providing students with financial lessons
and stressing the importance of being
responsible with their money is the purpose
of the program.
During the event, students from D’Arbonne
Woods Charter School, Downsville Charter
School and Union Parish High School were
given jobs for the day and simulated lives
as adults. As each group made its way from
station to station, vacations and fancy cars
tempted them. On the other side of the coin
– pun intended – they were also given bills
and student loans.
In order to succeed the students had to
think about their budget and choose wisely
in order to stay out of debt.
It was easier for some than others, but
overall they learned a life lesson.
Volunteers from Central Louisiana Area
Health Education Center, DART, Foster Farms,
Louisiana Delta Community College, Marion
State Bank, Origin Bank, Union General
Hospital and the Union Voters League
participated in the simulation.
Students who have attended the simulation
in the past enjoy it, said Pam Tompkins,
United Way resource development and
community impact coordinator for Lincoln
and Union Parishes.
“If you listen, they get really creative,” she
said. “They start trying to figure out, if they
had roommates, who could pay for the car,
how many ways to split the food and rent for
the apartment. Then they have that ‘a-ha’
moment when they realize at the end of the
simulation that the money they spent was just
on themselves, and when they realize there
is more than one person in a household that
lives off that budget that is when the light
bulb really goes off.”
With most of the students having
simulated families and student loans, they
came to the conclusion that implementing
good financial sense now can help them in
their real future.
The Gazette applauds the United Way
of Northeast Louisiana, the participating
schools and event sponsors for helping
provide our future leaders with lessons that
will help them achieve financial success.