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Youth can test knowledge, gain financial skills in LifeSmarts competition

October 12, 2011
Westfield Republican
ALBANY — The 2011-2012 online LifeSmarts competition is now open and live at the program’s home, The competition, coordinated in New York by the New York Credit Union Foundation, runs through the first week of February 2012.

LifeSmarts is a free, fast and fun educational competition that introduces middle school and high school students throughout the state to real-world knowledge. Competition topics have been chosen to encourage and reward knowledge in the areas that matter most to consumers and workers in today’s marketplace: personal finance; health and safety; the environment; technology; and consumer rights and responsibilities.

There are two separate competition levels: the High School Competition (Varsity); and the Middle School Competition (Junior Varsity, grades 6-8). Students and coaches can register online at to begin taking practice quizzes and downloading learning resources.

“This is a wonderful program that I would recommend to anyone,” said Jacob R. in an online survey following his participation in the 2011 competition. “It taught me things that I know I am going to be using (and am already using) in my daily life.”

Working with an adult coach, students compete against all other teams from New York State. The varsity level competition culminates in a live play-off March 28, 2012 at Schenectady County Community College (SCCC). The competition will be sponsored by Universal Sharing Network (UsNet) and SCCC. The state winner will then go on to the National Championship, which is being held April 20 through 24, 2012, in Philadelphia, Pa. The winner of the Junior Varsity Competition will be decided online.

“We’re happy to continue our coordination of LifeSmarts in New York,” said Diane LaVigna-Wixted, executive director of the Foundation. “This comprehensive, life skills program builds well-rounded kids by using their interest in the marketplace to motivate achievement across the board in reading, math, citizenship, leadership, financial literacy, communications, teamwork and workforce readiness. It also provides participating teachers from across the state with consumer curriculum they may not have access to elsewhere.”

LifeSmarts is an educational program of the National Consumers League that complements school curriculum. It can be used as an activity for classes, groups, clubs and community organizations. The Foundation coordinates the program in New York State. For more information, call (800) 342-9835, ext. 8186.

The New York Credit Union Foundation serves credit unions, schools and community organizations that help improve the financial literacy and independence of New Yorkers and promote the credit union difference. For more information about the Foundation, visit


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