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By Staff | Mar 30, 2012

The Chronicle wants to take a moment this week to commend the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce for providing an ever-increasing number of useful speakers and events in the community. Over the past week or so, the Chamber has educated adults and children alike with two different events.

At their monthly luncheon held last Thursday, the Chamber presented Argina Layne, a consumer advocate with the Attorney General’s office, who shared an invaluable lesson on identity theft. Make sure to read the feature story on all of details of protecting yourself.

It was a real eye-opener to see how easily someone can walk away with your personal information and charge hundreds or even thousands of dollars to your credit or debit cards. People’s lives have been ruined by the actions of criminals and the presentation sponsored by the Chamber allowed not only their members to benefit from the information, but it allowed us at the Chronicle to bring that information to you, our readers.

Earlier in the week, and coming up again next week, the Chamber sponsored a program called “Get a Life” for local middle school students. All four middle schools have had or will have their seventh graders participate in this program which teaches the benefit of higher education by allowing students to see what real life can cost them.

Each student, who has only received a high school education, is assigned a life with a salary. They must then use their monthly pay to budget their own household. All must have a vehicle to travel to work which requires a car payment, insurance and fuel. Some have families they must provide for with spouses and children. Homes must be bought which means a mortgage, insurance and furniture. Food, medical bills (some unexpected and costly if one did not purchase medical insurance), utilities and more add up to much more than most young teens realize.

The desire to purchase things such as the best car at the dealership or a “McMansion” and excessive furnishings led many of the young folks into debt before they had purchased all that was required such as food, fuel and utilities.

What an exceptional lesson given to these students.

We feel that the lesson could be repeated at any age, including those of us working for a living today to remind us that money does not grow on trees and debt can be a terrible thing.

Kudos to the Jefferson County Chamber for all that they offer, especially these programs which teach such good lessons.