Florida takes national LifeSmarts title in 2015 – National Consumers League

This post originally appeared on LifeSmarts.org. LifeSmarts is a program of the National Consumers League.

What an exciting conclusion to our 21st year! Florida topped Rhode Island by the slimmest of margins – just 2 points – to win the National LifeSmarts Championship last week in Seattle, WA.

Congratulations to coach Kathy Loggie and her LifeSmarts team from Paxon School for Advanced Studies in Jacksonville, Florida. Team members Harrison Andrew, Joseph Cain, Aaron Routzong, Evan Spaulding, and Captain Nicholas Pellegrino are to be commended for the consumer smarts they demonstrated throughout competition.

Team members each received $1,000 post-secondary education scholarships from Amazon.com and Western Union, and Microsoft Surface Tablets.

I also want to commend the other top-placing teams who competed deep into the national championship:

Second Place: Rhode Island; Barrington High School, Barrington, RI

Coach: Samuel Schachter

Captain: Matthew Lamontagne; Team members: Steven Forte, Brian McGartoll, Teddy Ni, and Eli Shea

Third Place: Hawaii; ‘Iolani High School, Honolulu, HI

Coach: James Rubasch

Captain: Justus Wataru; Team members: Noah Asada, Matthew Azama, Norton Kishi, Bailey Sylvester

Third Place (tied): Michigan; Fenton High School, Fenton, MI

Coach: Bruce Burwitz, Co-coach: Andy Cocagne

Captain: Jacob Goodman; Team members: Andrew Celini, Katherine Hiller, Kelsey Krause, Zachary Williams

To begin to appreciate the broad consumer knowledge students gain by participating in LifeSmarts, here are a few of the questions the Florida and Rhode Island teams tackled in the national finals:

  1. When college students apply for financial aid, they should complete this form to determine their family’s expected contribution to their education: (Answer: FAFSA; Free Application for Federal Student Aid)
  2. Why is texting while driving considered the most dangerous form of distracted driving? (Answer: It requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver; drivers have to take their eyes, hands, and mind off of the road)
  3. How do consumers react when consumer confidence is going up? (Answer: Consumers spend more freely)
  4. Name one advantage of using DRM? (Answer: Fights copyright infringement; helps ensure digital content is legitimate)
  5. Harmful “germs” or disease-causing microorganisms are called: (Answer: Pathogens)
  6. Name two ways consumers can help conserve water in the yard: (Answers: Irrigate more efficiently; use water-wise plants; improve the soil; harvest rainwater; use graywater instead of potable water on plants; design a more water-efficient landscape)

We often remind students and coaches that they are all winners in LifeSmarts. We sincerely believe it. I hope that the journey to learning more about consumer issues has been a fantastic one for all of our competitors this year!

Remember: LifeSmarts resources remain available year-round at LifeSmarts.org, and competition begins again after Labor Day!

The LifeSmarts Safety Smart connection – National Consumers League

This post originally appeared on LifeSmarts.org. LifeSmarts is a program of the National Consumers League.

For the past two years LifeSmarts has partnered with Underwriters Laboratories (UL) on its Safety Smart® Ambassador program to provide a way for LifeSmarts students to give back through community service. LifeSmarts students become Safety Smart Ambassadors by delivering interactive safety messages to younger children in their communities.

We predicted that the program would be a hit, and that our Ambassadors would learn right along with the children they mentored. We were right on both counts!

Last year LifeSmarts participants in 20 states became Safety Smart Ambassadors. They made more than 200 presentations, educating 4,000 young children.

One Ambassador told us, “Safety Smart is truly an amazing program…  The children that I have had the honor to teach were so interested and appreciative of the information I conveyed via this program.  This program was not only beneficial to the children, but to me as well as I have learned to be confident and assertive in front of people, whether age 5 or 50.”

Our appreciation to UL for this opportunity was summed up by one of our Ambassadors who said, “I want to say thank you to Underwriters Laboratories for getting to do the wonderful Safety Smart program.”

Become a Safety Smart Ambassador!

The resources provided by UL and LifeSmarts make this program easy to use – beginning with the coach lessons plan, a logistics checklist, videos featuring Timon and Pumbaa from Disney’s The Lion King, and four step-by-step lessons that are fun and easy to teach. Titles include:

  • Goes Green!
  • Healthy & Fit
  • Online!
  • Honest & Real!

In a nutshell

The Safety Smart Ambassador program is:

  • Quick and easy: each lesson is designed as a 30-minute presentation
  • Fun: Timon and Pumbaa resonate with young children
  • Educational: Everyone learns
  • Satisfying: LifeSmarts participants give back, serve as mentors, and demonstrate leadership
  • A great fit: The program helps you meet service learning and community service requirements
  • Turnkey: Everything you need is in one place

Wait, there’s more! Apply soon for LifeSmarts Safety Smart scholarships

Four motivated LifeSmarts students who become Safety Smart Ambassadors will win $750 post-secondary education scholarships. To apply, students complete the scholarship application  and submit it with a PowerPoint that highlights their Safety Smart presentations. Ambassadors will illustrate what they learned and what the younger children gained from the Safety Smart Ambassador experience.

Applications for the LifeSmarts Safety Smart scholarships are due by 5 p.m. Eastern, Friday, April 11, 2015. Students may submit an application based on presentations made from May 1, 2014, through April 11, 2015.

Scholarships will be announced on April 18 at the National LifeSmarts Championship in Seattle, WA. Students do not need to attend Nationals to be eligible. All LifeSmarts students in grades 9-12 may apply.

For more information

Visit the Safety Smart page on the LifeSmarts Web site or contact Lisa Hertzberg, LifeSmarts Program Director: lisah@nclnet.org.

new season – National Consumers League

LifeSmarts, NCL’s national competition for middle and high school students, launched its 21st season this week. This program teaches students the skills they need to be successful adult consumers in the real world. Every year the national championship is hosted in a different city around the country. In April we will travel to Seattle, Washington to crown a new LifeSmarts champion. This blog was written by Lisa Hertzberg, LifeSmarts program director. 

I love that it’s September and the competition is open for the year!

I love when students tell me how much LifeSmarts means to them.

I love when educators come back year after year – then I know we’re doing something right!

I love writing questions, creating new content, and developing fun new learning activities.

I love the LifeSmarts team – what a nice group of colleagues. We work hard but we enjoy doing this work because we’re lucky – we know our work makes a difference.

I love the opportunity to work across the country – we have wonderful state coordinators and competitors from many different states, and we also get to travel to new cities each year for the National LifeSmarts Championship (Hello, Seattle!).

I love the teams – it is great to watch students come together each year for competition but learn so much about themselves and how fun it is to be a part of a LifeSmarts team.

I love that we work with partners and sponsors who believe in this program and support our work.

I love when students apply what they have learned to their real lives and when they realize, “Hey, I learned that in LifeSmarts!”

I love the personal stories:

  • A coach told me she recruited a boy to her LifeSmarts team who was apathetic about school and talking about dropping out.  LifeSmarts (and a teacher who noticed) got him to graduation instead
  • One competitor told me she was able to help her family save money because she learned they didn’t need the extra insurance they were purchasing for their credit card
  • One student told me he knew to use baking soda on a grease fire that flared up at home
  • And students love to tell me, “my parents didn’t even know that!” when they bring LifeSmarts knowledge home

I love that we make learning fun and that we’ve been doing this now for 20 years.

And I love hearing from you – please drop me a note if you want to tell me what you love about LifeSmarts:  lisah@nclnet.org.

 

LifeSmarts celebrates its 20th anniversary at the national championship in Orlando, Florida – National Consumers League

2Students across the country will travel to Orlando, Florida this weekend for the National LifeSmarts Championship. This tournament marks the 20th anniversary for the program, which arms high school students around the country with the knowledge needed to be savvy consumers and responsible adults. The tournament begins on Saturday and will culminate on Tuesday (4/29) with a live broadcast at LifeSmarts.org of the semi-finals and finals.

Teams representing states around the country, the District of Columbia, and student organizations FCCLA and FBLA will compete for LifeSmarts glory.

These teams began competition online with the top scoring teams participating in live state competitions. Those winners punched their tickets to Orlando and earned an opportunity to be crowned the 2014 National LifeSmarts Champions. Follow the action on our Nationals Scoreboard housed on LifeSmarts’ Facebook page. We will be updating the scoreboard in live time. Follow your state’s team to track their success. You can also follow the action on Twitter using #LifeSmarts. This year marks the second-annual LifeSmarts Twitter contest. Top tweeters throughout the national championship tournament will win prizes.    

 

A budding relationship between LifeSmarts and FBLA – National Consumers League

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABy Lisa Hertzberg, LifeSmarts Program Director LifeSmarts staff has just returned from our first Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) National Leadership Conference (NLC) and is excited about the many possibilities for connections and growth. Our partners at FBLA have been accommodating and encouraging, and, beginning this fall, we’re pleased to offer FBLA’s 250,000 High School members a full-fledged LifeSmarts competitive event.

In our pilot this year 400 teams from FBLA chapters across the country competed online in the fall and spring challenges for the right to advance to compete live at the NLC, where the top 18 teams joined us for individual assessments, team activities, and traditional buzzer matches. While in Anaheim teams demonstrated consumer smarts – answering questions across LifeSmarts topics such as:

  • banking, credit, and marketplace economics
  • the three R’s, deforestation, and the greenhouse effect
  • government oversight, the legal system, and fighting fraud
  • nutrition, personal hygiene, and disease prevention
  • hardware, mobile phones, and Internet services

By being quick on the buzzers and backing it up with knowledge across all of the LifeSmarts topics, these teams took home top honors: Cheney HS FBLA, Washington 2. George Marshall HS FBLA, Virginia 3. Barrington HS FBLA, Rhode Island 4. West Platte HS FBLA, Missouri 4. West Chicago HS FBLA, Illinois Congratulations to all of our participants – matches were very competitive and the teams showed great sportsmanship throughout the competition. We invite FBLA Chapter Advisers and student leaders to mark your calendars for the 2013-14 LifeSmarts competitive events: Fall Challenge: October 15 – November 15, 2013 Spring Challenge: February 1 – 28, 2014 FBLA NLC in Nashville: June 29 – July 2, 2014