Students at two area high schools and a tribal college experienced a unique opportunity last month to practice financial responsibility and independent living.
The $pending Frenzy is an award winning financial skills simulation where participants visit a virtual community with $30,000 in play money bills to purchase housing, transportation, food, and other living expenses.
The program was created by First Nations Development Institute, a Colorado-based Native led nonprofit, to empower Native students with money skills and consumer awareness. With assistance from First Nations and the FINRA Investor Education Foundation local organizations and volunteers recently facilitated $pending Frenzy events at Chief Dull Knife College, Lame Deer High School, and St. Labre Indian School in Ashland. More than 50 students participated in the workshop series that ran from Sept. 13 to 15..
“We had three great days of financial skill building,” said Kay Medicine Bull, Youth Leadership and Elderly Support Coordinator at People’s Partner for Community Development in Lame Deer. “PPCD has invested in the $pending Frenzy program for its high impact focus which aligns with our mission of promoting economic well-being for Northern Cheyenne communities. The workshops were a big hit with students.”
Last month’s $pending Frenzy workshops were offered at CDKC, Lame Deer High School, and St. Labre Catholic Academy before the pandemic, but ceased after public health protocols were put in place.
“I enjoy assisting with the $pending Frenzy,” said Henry Thompson, Director of Cooperative Extension at CDKC. “The simulation works, because it’s very hands-on and culturally themed. The play money bills have Native American heroes like Jim Thorpe instead of U.S. Presidents and the expenses are relevant to tribal communities. The receipts and deposit slips that participants track also improve organization and recordkeeping skills.”
$pending Frenzy organizers explained that the simulation is based on the concept of giving young people a trial run at adulthood. Participants must manage money responsibly so that all of their living costs are accounted for while also saving or investing a portion. Just like real life, unexpected events like speeding tickets, food perishing power outages, and lawsuits for dog bites can throw a wrench into personal budgets during the hour-long workshop.
“It was fun,” said a St. Labre high school senior who participated in the $pending Frenzy. “Learning how to spend wisely was the most helpful part along with not going crazy with my money.”
Organizations that contributed to the success of the $pending Frenzy workshop series included People’s Partner for Community Development, Chief Dull Knife College Extension Services, Chief Dull Knife College Student Support Services, AARP Montana and First Nations Development Institute. Incentives and food were provided by St. Labre Youth and Family Services and Warrior Grocery.
According to Medicine Bull, People’s Partner for Community Development intends to offer more $pending Frenzy workshops in schools and other locations in the coming months. For more information about the $pending Frenzy contact Kay Medicine Bull with PPCD at 406-477-7723.