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Adding up to success: Phoenix-area kids learn hands-on financial management

TEMPE, Ariz. — Some Phoenix-area schoolkids now have a new life skill: financial literacy.

About 100 fifth-graders from Queen Creek Elementary went to BizTown at Junior Achievement of Arizona on Thursday.

The kids were assigned various roles before they got there –- for example, CEO or clerk –- and worked in teams at their assigned businesses to pay back their “business loan.”

Teacher Brian Quinn said the kids learned a lot, especially about setting a budget and paying bills.

“Financial literacy is just a life skill,” Quinn said. “It’s something that many Americans -– even adults –- struggle with: Credit-card debt; not being able to balance their budget.”

BizTown sponsors included fast-food chicken chain Raising Cane’s, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Toyota.

Student Jenna Vanderhulst was chosen CEO of Raising Cane’s. Among her duties was paying the business bills, which she didn’t like.

“I hear my mom complaining about having to pay bills all the time, and it doesn’t seem fun,” she said.

Junior Achievement is a nonprofiit that inspires and prepares young people to succeed in a global economy. The organization has offices in all 50 states.