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Making It in San Diego: Junior Achievement gives San Diego teens crash course in adulthood

Posted at 11:17 AM, Dec 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-16 22:49:03-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - On Friday, a group of San Diego teenagers got a lesson in what it takes to make it in San Diego.

Junior Achievement of San Diego County hosted the Helix High class of seniors at their Finance Park.

"These are all seniors getting ready to go into the real world, this is a program getting them real-world ready," said Valerie Hash, Capstone Manager for Junior Achievement.

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With the help of volunteers and technology, students gain the knowledge and skills to make smart financial decisions.

In the four-hour crash course, students become adults for the day, complete with a salary, family, education, and debt. Once they have that information, they use their tablets to plan, budget, and save.

"The number one thing I hear is kids are expensive! And I tell them, yes you are! So then they understand all the decisions their family has to make in order to make their life awesome and possible," said Hash.

When taking out loans and making other purchases, students see real-world San Diego costs.

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"When we're working with students, national averages don't work. We're San Diego, California, we are extra! So we want to make sure students see that. Yes, you're going to make more money, things are going to be more expensive, how do you mitigate that? Because if you want to stay in San Diego, you should understand that," said Hash.

Students were assigned various careers like psychologists, teachers, and dental assistants.

They learn the importance of spending money wisely and recognizing a budget as a crucial tool.

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"Number one is yes, kids are expensive, number two, yes, San Diego is expensive, but number three, it's all possible, it's doable. You can still live in San Diego, have a home, have a car, clothe your family, but you have to make other types of sacrifices," said Hash.

Junior Achievement welcomes other schools to take part in the Finance Park. Some scholarships are available.

Businesses and individuals can also sponsor a school to take part in the program.