Since it's National Consumer Protection Week and all, we thought it would be a nice time to honor the volunteers who make our LifeSmarts program the success it is, year after year. (15, in fact!) If you're not familiar, LifeSmarts is a program of the National Consumers League that teaches teens and 'tweens the kind of important life lessons that many generations before them have learned the hard way. LifeSmarts is a fast-paced competition that starts online, at the state level. Teams of teens (in the Varsity program, it's high school students; in the newer JV program, it's middle school) compete online against others from their state. Many states have in-person competitions to determine who will represent them at nationals, and each spring, state champion teams travel to a city (this year, it's St. Louis) to compete for the national championship title. The idea behind LifeSmarts is simple: why not teach kids the kinds of things they'll need to know to be a good consumer before they have to face real-life tests? As home ec. and "checkbook math" classes have been phased out of school curriculum across the country -- and as the consumer marketplace continues to reveal itself to be so filled with pitfalls -- LifeSmarts seems to be more necessary now than ever before. This year's National Consumer Protection Week's theme is "Nuts and Bolts: Tools for Today's Economy - a perfect fit for LifeSmarts -- and a perfect time to celebrate the people who help make it happen: more than 30 volunteer State Coordinators who run the programs in their states; the volunteers who serve as judges and other competition officials; the many companies, organizations, and government offices that provide the financial support to sustain the program; and the thousands of coaches across the country who spend long hours prepping their teens for competition, raise funds to get to nationals, and help spread the word about LifeSmarts. Recently, at the Missouri state LifeSmarts competition, a volunteer judge had this to say about the program:
"As a former teacher, I fully believe that this competition helps promote leadership and intellectual curiosity. It is a wonderful opportunity for all the students involved." He's right! Get to know LifeSmarts today - and follow our fun and competition in St. Louis at our nationals blog, starting April 24.