ALBANY, N.Y. (9/23/11)--The 2011-2012 online LifeSmarts competition--which helps students with life situations--is open and live at the program’s home, www.lifesmarts.org. The competition, coordinated in New York by the New York Credit Union Foundation, runs through the first week of February 2012. LifeSmarts is a free educational competition that introduces middle school and high school students throughout the state to real-world knowledge. Competition topics have been chosen to encourage and reward knowledge in the areas that matter most to consumers and workers in today’s marketplace: personal finance, health and safety, the environment, technology, and consumer rights and responsibilities. There are two separate competition levels: the High School Competition (Varsity) and the Middle School Competition (Junior Varsity, grades six through eight). Students and coaches can register online at www.lifesmarts.org to begin taking practice quizzes and downloading learning resources. Working with an adult coach, students compete against all other teams statewide. The varsity level competition culminates in a live playoff March 28 at Schenectady (N.Y.) County Community College (SCCC). The competition will be sponsored by Universal Sharing Network and SCCC. The state winner will then go on to the National Championship, April 20-24, in Philadelphia. The winner of the Junior Varsity Competition will be decided online. “This comprehensive, life skills program builds well-rounded kids by using their interest in the marketplace to motivate achievement across the board in reading, math, citizenship, leadership, financial literacy, communications, teamwork and workforce readiness,” said Diane LaVigna-Wixted, foundation executive director. “It also provides participating teachers from across the state with consumer curriculum they may not have access to elsewhere.” LifeSmarts is an educational program of the National Consumers League that complements a school curriculum. It can be used as an activity for classes, groups, clubs and community organizations. The foundation coordinates the program in New York State.