On Tuesday, Feb. 25, the Rhinelander Partner’s in Education (PIE) group, along with Rhinelander High School (RHS) teachers, and several area businesses and volunteers, will be hosting the Mad Money Financial Simulation. Located in the Jim Miazga Community Gymnasium, this event has been going strong since 2012.
On this day, more than 200 students from the junior class will be transported into the future. They will be given various careers and life situations. They will discover the challenges of balancing their budget when obtaining housing, transportation, food, household necessities, clothing, day care and other wants and needs.
Young people often have an inaccurate perception of where things come from and how difficult it can be to make it in the “real world.” They also cannot always distinguish between a want and a need. Many of them have never had a job or had to manage money. The Mad Money program will hopefully serve as a wake-up call for these high school juniors, giving them a keener sense of the realities of adulthood.
While PIE volunteers and RHS staff work together to organize the event, it couldn’t take place without the help of local businesses who volunteer staff resources and serve as vendors at the event. Each vendor has a booth set up in the gym. Students will visit these vendors depending on the “situation” the student is given at the beginning of the simulation. Some incomes are large while others are more modest. Some students have families to support while others do not. It is similar a large Game of Life.
Some of the vendors include: Banks and credit unions, auto dealerships, insurance companies, cellphone companies, energy companies, internet service, child care, personal care, entertainment, charities, housing and rental, clothing stores, furniture stores, grocery stores, citations (police) and Social Services. Organizing and offering this event is truly a community effort.
PIE will be providing lunch for the event. After lunch, students will participate in an interactive session with presenter Robert Sjoberg of Dynamic Personalities, as they learn about building positive interpersonal relationships. This is a valuable skill that should help the students in their future endeavors.
As Community Education Coordinator, this will be my first year experiencing the event. I am excited to see the students as they get a taste of real life. While the event has a serious educational purpose, it should also be fun. I look forward to working with students and staff, as well as all the people from the local businesses and organizations who make this program possible.