Junior Achievement And Rock Financial, A Quicken Loans Company, Open Michigan’s First Finance Park

  • October 19, 2006

-Colorful, vibrant, fun environment serves as realistic mall to increase finance knowledge and skills of southeast Michigan’s kids-

Detroit, Mich. – Oct. 19, 2006 – Junior Achievement of Southeastern Michigan (JA) will officially open its Rock Financial JA Finance Park facility at 2:00 p.m. today. The grand opening will take place at JA’s Southeast Michigan headquarters in downtown Detroit.

The Honorable Kwame M. Kilpatrick, Mayor of Detroit; Daniel Gilbert, founder and chairman of Rock Financial/Quicken Loans; Christopher Ilitch of Ilitch Holdings, S. Evan Weiner, chairman, Finance Park Project, and many other well-known business and community leaders will participate in the dedication.

Rock Financial JA Finance Park is a 12,500 square-foot hands-on learning facility located in the Detroit headquarters of Junior Achievement. The newly renovated building features real, branded business storefronts used to provide a real-world finance learning experience for kids.

Participation at Rock Financial JA Finance Park will be the culmination of the six-week long JA Finance Park program. Middle and high school students will attend six weeks of in-classroom instruction that equips them with the budgeting and finance skills they’ll need to become financially-responsible adults. The curriculum helps students understand the importance of developing a personal budget, maintaining good credit, and recognizing the true cost of financing purchases.

The program ends with a trip to Rock Financial JA Finance Park, where students become “adults for the day.” Upon arrival, each student is assigned a unique personal scenario with career, income and family-size information. Using this scenario, they develop a realistic monthly budget and then visit each storefront where they must make choices about housing, transportation, clothing, food, insurance and health care, all while maintaining a balanced budget.

“One of our goals for the NEXT Detroit is to develop public-private partnerships to create opportunities for our youth to learn about the benefits of having a good credit rating, balancing their check book, and being property owners,” Mayor Kilpatrick said. “The Rock Financial JA Finance Park will definitely be an effective tool in helping cultivate youth into fiscally responsible adults.”

To assist with launching the facility, businesses and community leaders from Southeast Michigan partnered with JA to build the fully-functional storefronts at Finance Park, complete with computers, furniture and budget planning materials. Rock Financial is the project’s lead sponsor.

“This unique and important program teaches kids the basic finance skills everyone should develop at an early age,” said Gilbert. “Through Rock Financial JA Finance Park, kids will learn about money and credit, how it works, what’s important and what’s not. We are pleased to participate with the companies who have “stepped up” to contribute and develop Finance Park for all of southeast Michigan’s kids.”
Business storefront sponsors in addition to Rock Financial include: AAA, Allstate, AT&T, Comerica Bank, DTE Energy, General Motors, Humana, Little Caesars, Pulte Homes and the Somerset Collection.

“The JA Finance Park experience offers students the opportunity to be responsible for their personal financial management, and for the first time in their lives, they understand the financial decisions associated with being an adult,” said Weiner. “Students not only participate in a tailored classroom curriculum, they also have the opportunity to bring that curriculum to life by putting their knowledge to use in a high-tech, hands-on environment.”

Rock Financial JA Finance Park serves students in a 10-county area in southeast Michigan: Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Washtenaw, Livingston, Shiawassee, Genesee, Lapeer, and St. Clair counties. It is located at 577 E. Larned, Detroit. For more information on JA Finance Park, or any of the JA programs, contact Lenore Litwin at (313) 962-5684 or llitwin@jamichigan.org.

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About Junior Achievement

Junior Achievement is the world’s largest and fastest growing organization dedicated to educating young people about business, economics and free enterprise. Through age-appropriate curricula, JA programs begin at the elementary school level, teaching children how they can impact the world around them as individuals, workers and consumers. In Southeastern Michigan, more than 1,600 JA volunteers reach out to 45,000 students throughout 10 counties in the metropolitan areas of Detroit and Flint.

About Rock Financial

Rock Financial is a Quicken Loans company. Quicken Loans Inc. consists of Quicken Loans, the nation’s largest online lender and Rock Financial, Michigan’s largest mortgage company. Employing more than 3,750 people, the company has been ranked in the “Top 15” of FORTUNE Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work for in America” list for three consecutive years and #1 on Computerworld’s list of “100 Best Places to Work in Technology” for the past two years.

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