PROVIDENCE, RI -- In a virtual preview of Sunday's AFC Championship game, students from Renee DeRosier's Cumberland High School personal finance class scored a win for the New England Patriots and their financial futures by playing a video game today.
About 30 students joined Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis in the school's Transition Center to play "Financial Football." The free NFL-themed video game lets players score touchdowns for their favorite team by answering questions on topics ranging from understanding debt to saving for college.
Led by Team Captain Steven Towner, the students carried the Pats to a 26-0 win over the Baltimore Ravens, New England's real-life opponent in Sunday evening's match-up.
The demonstration kicked of a campaign from the Rhode Island Jump$tart Coalition and Mollis to encourage Rhode Islanders to use the on-line game to become financially savvy. Jump$tart just named Mollis its honorary coach in Rhode Island.
"We're proud to be involved with NFL 'Financial Football.' This is the perfect time to capitalize on Patriots' playoff fever to promote financial literacy. This game turns important lessons about money management into a fun family activity," said Mollis
Every win for the virtual Patriots is recorded on the game's national leader board. New England is currently number one in the nation.
"Play this on-line game to support the Pats and promote financial literacy. Keep the Pats on top in the poll while you learn more about protecting yourself against financial pitfalls," said Mollis.
He told the students that they have a big stake in financial literacy, Recent graduates of Rhode Island colleges carried an average student loan debt of $29,000, fourth highest in the country, according to a report by the Project on Student Debt.
Cumberland High School Principal Alan Tenreiro, who introduced Mollis at the event, took the opportunity to express intentions to further implement personal financial education school-wide; "Renee DeRosier is doing an outstanding job preparing her students for their financial futures. We are currently developing strategies that will allow her lessons to reach more students at Cumberland."
In addition to the web-based game, "Financial Football" is also available as a free iPhone app on iTunes as well as an optimized iPad version.
"Financial Football," also posted at www.rhodeisland.financialfootball.com, is an NFL-themed, educational game created by Visa Inc., in partnership with the NFL and the NFL PLAYERS that rewards players as they compete for their favorite team, with first-downs and touchdowns as rewards for correct answers to personal financial questions.
Rhode Island promotions are headed up by Mollis and the Jump$tart Coalition, which recently launched a "Personal Financial Playoffs" campaign to encourage Patriots fans to keep New England on top of the national rankings, which will remain in flux through the Super Bowl.
"All Patriots' nation is encouraged to play for the Pats as an educational expression of support for our home team. Please play early and play often," according to Jim Hedemark executive director of the Rhode Island Jump$tart Coalition.
On partnering with Mollis to promote "Financial Football" in Rhode Island, Hedemark explains, "Like the longtime Pats fan who wore the old logo, Ralph Mollis was a promoter of personal financial education before it became politically popular to do so. Since 2005, he has been a cheerleader for the Coalition's efforts. We're proud that he's quarterbacking this campaign."
The centerpiece of Visa's nationwide educational initiative with the NFL and NFL PLAYERS, "Financial Football" helps students and adults tackle their financial futures. The game is part of Practical Money Skills for Life, a free, award-winning financial education program that reaches millions of people around the world each year.
The Rhode Island Jump$tart Coalition first kicked off the Ocean State's Financial Football campaign in 2007 with Visa, Wes Welker and Dan Koppen of the New England Patriots at a special press conference in the Patriots' locker room at Gillette Stadium.
According to Hedemark, "This free financial literacy educational tool has been received with equal enthusiasm in sixth-grade classrooms and CPA conferences for over five years in Rhode Island." He continues, "'Financial Football' doesn't profess to 'solve' or 'cure' financial education goals. Instead, it does what we at the Coalition hope for. It motivates people in a fun way to pursue further exploration of personal finance."
The Rhode Island Jump$tart Coalition is a nonprofit organization comprised of academic, business, civic and labor leaders founded in May 2004 with the purpose of increasing the personal financial capabilities of the people of the Ocean State. For more information, visit www.rijumpstart.org.
Secretary of State Mollis is committed to making it easier to vote, making it easier to do business in Rhode Island and making government more open and accessible. For more information about the programs and services the Secretary of State offers Rhode Islanders, visit sos.ri.gov.
MEDIA CONTACT: Chris Barnett at 222-4294 # # #