Lead Story Professional Sports West Edition

Rams serve as financial consultants for high school students

BURBANK — High school junior Zaria Price experienced the life of a 31-year-old sales manager with a husband, a child and an income of $38,000.

Price was among 44 South Los Angeles high school students who became an “adult for a day” with the help of 23 rookies from the Los Angeles Rams.

The event June 20 at Junior Achievement of Southern California’s Finance Park teaches money management through a real-life setting of stores, shops and financial institutions.

“The importance of Junior Achievement partnering with the L.A. Rams gives the students an introduction into the real world,” said Kat Delgado Kirkwood, interim president and chief education officer for Junior Achievement of Southern California. “It shows the importance of budgeting and saving. Bringing on the athletes makes it even more real.”

Junior Achievement is a national nonprofit organization that teaches students of all ages financial literacy, entrepreneurship and work readiness.

This day was special with more than 20 rookies like Alex Kozan serving as financial consultants for the students.

Kozan, an offensive guard from the University of Colorado, said the NFL needs more teams participating in programs like Finance Park.

“I’m very fortunate that the Rams took part in an event like this to teach financial literacy,” he said.

The five-hour event started with students and Junior Achievement staff discussing debit versus credit, budgeting versus spending and needs versus wants. The students visited small-scale, real-life businesses, including Bank of America, Allstate, Toyota and Sports Chalet. The instructors assigned each “adult” a real-life scenario with a career, income and family status.

Students from Dorsey and Crenshaw high schools, the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship of Greater Los Angeles and the Al Wooten Jr. Heritage Center worked in small groups with their mentors, using an iPad to make purchases like a car, home, child care, groceries and clothing. The students had to live on their budget.

Price, from the Wooten Youth Center, had a monthly income of $5,286 and a student loan and credit card debt of $31,152. She created a budget with an eight-passenger van, groceries, a two-bedroom apartment and clothing for about $3,000 per month.

She said she learned that the smallest things can add up.

Price especially liked the lessons on budgeting and saving money.

“The program was very fun and educational,” she said. “I can stop spending money on items I don’t really need.”