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BCBSND Caring Foundation helps launch JA Finance Park to help Horizon Middle School Students gain greater financial literacy

Girl student wearing glasses and mask with book in middle school classroom.

BISMARCK- Junior Achievement of Bismarck-Mandan, with the support of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota Caring Foundation, announces the launch of JA Finance Park®. This program is designed to help middle school students better understand how to manage money by letting them select simulated life scenarios and challenging them to successfully manage their finances. It is demonstrated to raise financial literacy and capability of students who have been through the program.

"At Junior Achievement, we think of financial literacy as ‘the other literacy.’ Like the need to read, we also need to understand how to manage money," says JA of the Upper Midwest District Manager Holly Triska.

JA Finance Park will help 400 students at Horizon Middle School have more successful futures because of their financial literacy and capability. Several community leaders will contribute to the curriculum by sharing their financial expertise with students, including Shelly Jones of Wells Fargo, Joel Bird of Ameriprise Financial, Julie Jeske of American Bank Center, Dustin Bitz of Capital Credit Union.

“Both JA and BCBSND Caring Foundation are committed to investing in skills such as entrepreneurship and financial literacy to empower future generations of leaders,” said Amber Blomberg BCBSND Caring Foundation and Community Partnerships Manager. “We are proud to collaborate with JA to help prepare and inspire young people to succeed.”

JA Finance Park is Junior Achievement’s capstone curriculum for personal financial planning and career exploration. This teacher-led classroom curriculum culminates with a virtual classroom simulation that gives students a more personal focus.

Students engage with volunteers and put into practice what they’ve learned by developing a personal budget. To do so, they pick a career and choose their future lifestyle and financial goals. This simulation allows students to see the long-term impact of their education, savings, and credit decisions.

About Junior Achievement in the Bismarck-Mandan Area
Junior Achievement has been serving students in North Dakota, Minnesota, and western Wisconsin since 1949. JA in the Bismarck-Mandan area is making an impact by offering programs that provide relevant, hands-on learning experiences for grades K-12 focusing on three pathways: financial literacy, work and career readiness, and entrepreneurship. Our programs are implemented by more than 200 volunteers, who share their skills and experience to motivate and inspire over 3,000 students to succeed each year in the Bismarck-Mandan area. Learn more at www.jaum.org.

About the Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND) Caring Foundation
Established in 1989, the BCBSND Caring Foundation (www.BCBSND.com/Caring-Foundation) is a private 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Through giving and investing, the Caring Foundation focuses on key health issues that help improve the health and well-being of North Dakotans and their communities. Caring Foundation staff work with grantees to support nonprofit sustainability, collaborate on shared outcomes and create lasting change.