ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — After graduating high school, there’s often an initial feeling of excitement at the idea of having more freedom until reality hits and the bills start rolling in. More students in New Mexico are learning valuable lessons about balancing a budget before graduation, thanks to a web-based program called Banzai.
It starts by having the kids take a pre-test.
“I am never surprised how many kids do horribly bad on this,” said Sherry Lober, an Albuquerque High School teacher.
Lober said many of her students don’t even know how to count change, much less understand a checking account.
“You have five dollars, you have five ones in your hand, it’s more real,” she said. “But now with all this electronic banking, it’s pushing buttons on your phone, it’s Apple Pay. It’s not real.”
For years, Lober struggled to find a way to teach money management to high school students in a way they could relate to.
“Most of the resources out there go over students’ heads,” she said.
Finally, Lober found Banzai. It takes students through real-life budgeting scenarios. They have a fake checking account, they get paychecks, and they run into things like paying taxes, going to the hospital, and having to pay for car maintenance.
“They need to understand the value of money and how to manage it,” she said.
Two years ago, Lober lost her sponsorship for the program and was trying to find money just to make photocopies of the Banzai booklet. Recently, she was elated to learn Southwest Capital Bank is stepping up to help her bring the program back.
“It’s simple and it’s real,” said Lober. “It really impacts them and they can understand the value of money.”
Southwest Capital Bank sponsors 34 schools in New Mexico, while First National Bank sponsors 16. Any teacher at a sponsored school can access Banzai.
To request a Banzai sponsorship from one of the banks, click on the following links:
First National Bank — https://www.getfeedback.com/r/HHCUbMQP/20770c44-2d9c-492f-808f-da4be885292e/q/1
Southwest Capital Bank — https://www.getfeedback.com/r/HHCUbMQP/6d4b69dc-75a8-4d15-8d6d-f9b17a03af5b/q/1