Isabelle Coleman and Vincent Auffrey of the Mathieu-Martin High School, and Nicholas Smith and Trevor Yerxa of the Riverview High School, in New Brunswick, are part of an innovative project aimed at filling in the gap in financial knowledge that many high school students have.
Coordinated by Partners for Youth, a not-for-profit organization, this pilot project uses as its primary teaching resource The City, a financial literacy skills program elaborated by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC), in partnership with the British Columbia Securities Commission.
Project coordinator Mitch Peters explains that the peer-teaching model of this initiative was developed so that students who have gone through the program can share what they have learned with their fellow students. "Speaking from my own experience, I did not have a lot of financial literacy taught to me as a high school student. It was a lot of trial and error. This is why I think it is really important to get this information out there," Mitch explains.
"One of the things we were taught was the difference between needs, wants and priorities. That's classifying what you should spend most of your money on, according to what you really need and what you don't need," says Trevor.
"I will definitely use this later on in life," adds Nicholas.
"The City is a lot more interesting than a course. It's more in touch with today's young generation. It's interactive, so you learn from the mistakes made by the characters."
"It's more realistic and it offers something different," observes his fellow student, Isabelle. "I think it could help a lot of people."
This success story is part of a series of testimonials that can be viewed on FCAC's website at www.fcac.gc.ca.
Project Coordinator, Partners for Youth, New Brunswick
My name is Mitch Peters. I am a project coordinator for Partners for Youth, so I coordinate a pilot project with The City in schools throughout New Brunswick. It is a financial literacy skills program basically trying to fill the gap of financial knowledge which exists for high school students.
Nicholas Smith, Riverview High School, Grade 11
I think this program taught us a lot. Like how to save our money.
Isabelle Coleman, Mathieu-Martin High School, Grade 10
It's aimed at young people, to give them information on financial plans and future budgets.
Trevor Yerxa, Riverview High School, Grade 11
One of the things we were taught was needs, wants and priorities. That's classing what you should spend most of your money on judging by what you really need and what you don't need.
Speaking from my own experience, I did not have a lot if financial literacy taught to me as a high school student. It was a lot of trial and error, and in our society there's a lot of financial challenges that students will face. So I think it is really important to get this information out there.
Well, one thing I learned is if you save 10 percent of every paycheque when you start working, you should have enough money to retire by the time you are 60. That is something I could do.
I myself have a job and have become more responsible with my money because of it.
Vincent Auffrey, Mathieu-Martin High School, Grade 10
The money in my account builds up really quickly. I've been working for two months now. I work every two weeks and have saved $400 already.
The program is really tapping into this generation. It is very interactive, it is online. And that is why we developed a peer teaching model where students from the program that we are teaching share what they have learned from this program with other peers.
It will be cool to teach other kids about it. A good experience, I guess.
I think it is better. They will listen to a student quicker than they will a teacher because it is one of their peers that has realized something. They will kind of clue in with it.
The City is a lot more interesting than a course. It's more in touch with today's young generation.
Well, the online stuff is great. It allows students to go at their own pace. It is self-directed learning. And another great element is that they can work on it at home.
The City was on The MoneyBelt. There is a link right on the home page. There's a café with a bunch of characters and different situations.
There were various jobs, what kind of house you wanted, how much food you're going to need to buy and all that.
There are eleven different modules and there are various themes. It starts with basic economic fundamental ideas and then it builds on that. The final product is a financial plan so students come out of the program having constructed a financial plan which will take them into their post-education career.
It's interactive, so you learn from the mistakes made by the people in the café.
I remember one girl. She wanted to have her own restaurant. So she worked at the café and for another company and was saving her money so that she could open her own restaurant one day.
Students are into it, I think. When they go home they spend a lot of time online. It is a really interesting generation that we have right now, very tied in to what is happening online and social media and this is really much trying to tap in to that.
Two weeks ago, I went to a concert. That's not something I could have done before, because I usually didn't have enough money to go to concerts. With The City, I learned how to save my money, so when this concert came up, I could afford to go.
Being able to spend your own money gives you a sense of pride.
I definitely think all students should be going through this course at school because it will help them with the future.
Yes, I will definitely use this later on in life.
It's more realistic and it offers something different. I think it could help a lot of people.
If people are informed, there will be a lot less poverty and problems like that in society.