Junior Achievement and Rock Financial Open Michigan's First 'Finance Park' in Downtown Detroit Today -- Colorful, vibrant, fun environment serves as realistic mall to increase

finance knowledge and skills of Southeast Michigan's kids --



    DETROIT, Oct. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Junior Achievement of Southeastern
 Michigan (JA) will officially open its Rock Financial JA Finance Park
 facility at 2 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; S. Evan Weiner,
 chairman, Finance Park Project; and many other well-known business and
 community leaders will be on hand for 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 a 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 .
     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. JA programs
 continue through the middle and high school grades, preparing students for
 additional key economic and workforce issues they will face in the future.
 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. Visit http://www.rockfinancial.com for more information.
 
 

SOURCE Junior Achievement

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