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Educating our local youth

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Beginning next week, hundreds of Lincoln Parish students will make their way to the Dollars and $ense Reality Fair hosted by United Way of Northeast Louisiana, in partnership with Lincoln Parish ACHEIVE, at the Ruston Civic Center.

The two-day financial education simulation is held for 10th graders parishwide to actively learn how to make good financial decisions and further their knowledge on earning, saving and spending their money.

Pam Tompkins, United Way resource development and community impact coordinator for Lincoln and Union Parishes, said students will visit different booths representing life choices including decisions concerning vehicles, housing and food.

“This simulation gives students a real-life look into developing a budget and spending plan while teaching them how to make sound financial decisions that will help them take control of their finances and their future,” she said. “Upon completion of the Dollars and $ense Reality Fair, students will have increased their understanding of the source and uses of their income, while beginning to develop responsible attitudes toward budgeting, spending and saving.”

Since the program began more than four years ago, hundreds of volunteers have helped United Way better educate local students on financial matters.

To be successful, the program needs more than 150 people to volunteer as financial advisors, booth attendants and organizers.

Volunteering for the fair requires three hours of time per event, and volunteers may work for just one day, or both, Tompkins said.

The Ruston Daily Leader encourages community leaders who can lend their time to educate the youth in matters of personal finance to do so.

Programs such as the reality fair aid the students of Lincoln Parish to learn more about money and how to spend, save and budget smarter.

These 10th graders are the future of our parish and we must help them understand the importance of being responsible with their finances.

Any training, information and materials needed to participate in the fair will be provided for volunteers at the simulation; however, registration is required.

To participate in the fair, volunteers can visit unitedwaynela.org/income, call 2-1-1 on any landline or mobile phone or contact Tompkins at 232-0055, or email her at ptrompkins@unitedwaynela.org.

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