Students learn about financial literacy

Katie Welcher, left, and Linsey Woolsoncraft of Provident State Bank’s Cambridge Branch taught a group of Dorchester County students about financial literacy on July 31.

CAMBRIDGE — It’s never too early to learn how to stretch a dollar.
Students in the third, fourth and fifth grades attending the summer program at Mace’s Lane Middle School got some real-world lessons in following a budget and paying bills on July 31. Katie Welcher and Linsey Woolsoncraft, employees at Provident State Bank’s Cambridge branch, visited the school and presented a lesson that could help the youngsters – and just about anybody else – to live within their means and avoid problems with bills.

“We were happy to take part in it,” Branch Manager Karey Cannon said.
They had to move fast to get the facts, figures and displays together. After being contacted by the school, “We put that program together in two weeks,” Ms. Cannon said.

The lesson included an exercise in which each child received $100 in play money, and then viewed boards that showed expenses, such as electricity and food. They had to distribute their money in such a way that all the bills were paid.

Makes sense, right? Sure.

But life isn’t always that straightforward.

So the exercise threw the kids a curve or two – money was left over, and they had the chance to save or go on vacation. Then, along came an unexpected expense, like a broken-down car.

Whoops.

One thrifty girl had saved, and was able to get her imaginary car back on the road, so she could still go to work. Not a bad lesson for a child or an adult, for that matter.

The instructors were well prepared by their own work, in the bank and elsewhere. Ms. Welcher once worked with Junior Achievement – a non-profit group that works with youth on financial literacy – and Ms. Woolsoncraft has spent time as a camp counselor.

“They did a great job,” Ms. Cannon said. “We try to do as much community development as we can.”

Provident State Bank is at 301 Crusader Road in Cambridge.

Dave Ryan is editor of the Dorchester Banner. He can be reached at dryan@newszap.com.

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