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LifeSmarts Launches 25th Season of Consumer Literacy Competition, Scholarships

1.5 million students nationally have gained real-world knowledge through the program.

Contact: Vanessa Spero, Regional Specialized 4-H Agent, Co-coordinator for LifeSmarts, Vspero@ufl.edu

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The UF/IFAS Florida 4-H Youth Development Program and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has officially launched the 2018-2019 season of LifeSmarts, a national scholarship competition and educational program for middle-school and high-school students that tests knowledge of real-life consumer issues and aims to create a future generation of consumer-savvy adults.

This year, the program will celebrate its 25th anniversary season, and a new competition has gone live at the online home of the program, LifeSmarts.org. LifeSmarts is a program of the National Consumers League (NCL), the nation’s pioneering consumer advocacy organization. It is operated at the state level by coordinators like Vanessa Spero, regional specialized 4-H agent, and Gwen Worlds with FDACS.

“We are thrilled that Florida will be a part of LifeSmarts’ 25th year of bringing invaluable consumer literacy lessons and scholarship opportunities to teens in our state,” said Spero, LifeSmarts co-coordinator.

LifeSmarts focuses on five main content areas: consumer rights and responsibilities, personal finance, technology, health and safety, and the environment. Students are quizzed on their knowledge of these subject areas during online competition. Top-performing teams then advance to statewide competitions, and state champion teams advance to the national championship held each year in a different American city. The 2019 National LifeSmarts Championship will take place April 13 to 16 in Orlando, Florida. Winning team members receive scholarships and other prizes.

“We are very excited to launch our 25th season of LifeSmarts,” said national Program Director Lisa Hertzberg. “For 25 years, LifeSmarts has given students the skills they need to succeed as adults. We’ve seen more than 1.5 million students gain knowledge, confidence, leadership capabilities, and team-building skills. The competition is fun, and the impact of LifeSmarts is lifelong.”

LifeSmarts is active in all states and the District of Columbia, where NCL is headquartered.

“We are proud of the impact LifeSmarts has made in its 25 years of educating teens, and we are excited to continue to grow the LifeSmarts program, to educate students about financial literacy, and to create a new generation of savvy, market-ready consumers and workers,” said NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg. “Too often traditional high school curriculum fails to teach students vital information that will be crucial once students go to college, get their first job or move out of their parents’ house.”

In addition to hosting the official LifeSmarts competition, LifeSmarts.org provides resources for educators to supplement existing lesson plans. These include daily quizzes, educational videos, social media competitions, focused study guides, and scholarship opportunities. LifeSmarts lessons closely align with courses taught in family and consumer sciences, business, technology, health, and vocational education. Math and English teachers have also had success with LifeSmarts, as have homeschool and community educators.

Major LifeSmarts contributors include: Johnson & Johnson, Underwriters Laboratories, Western Union, Comcast NBC Universal, Experian, Intuit, American Express Company, Microsoft and others.

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LifeSmarts is a program of the National Consumers League. State coordinators run the programs on a volunteer basis. For more information, visit: LifeSmarts.org, email lifesmarts@nclnet.org, or call the National Consumers League’s communications department at (202) 835-3323.

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.

The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS works to bring science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents. Visit the UF/IFAS web site at ifas.ufl.edu and follow us on social media at @UF_IFAS.

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