The Richard Myles Johnson Foundation – the state credit union foundation for California and Nevada – provides resources for credit unions in their youth financial education efforts.
Bite of Reality – the RMJ Foundation's signature program – is a fun, interactive simulation for teenagers. They are tasked with taking on the role of an adult for a day and must make purchasing decisions based on their assigned income.
The CNYIN is comprised of credit union professionals who provide youth financial education as part of their jobs. They provide resources to fellow youth educators, and partner with the RMJ Foundation on delivering Bite of Reality.
Visit the CNYIN website at http://www.cnyin.org/
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|SchoolsFirst FCU Internal Communications Officer Kathryn Miles helps Dominik Fama with making clothing purchases during the RMJ Foundation's Bite of Reality event held during the League's' Annual Meeting and Convention in Las Vegas.|
The high school students from Sunrise Mountain High School in Las Vegas and children of employees of Clark County CU participated in Bite of Reality, a hands-on simulation program. The event featured volunteers from Southern Nevada Chapter credit unions, including America First CU, Boulder Dam CU, Clark County CU, and WestStar CU.
At the November 12 event, the teens were given a fictional occupation, salary, spouse and family, student loan debt, credit card debt, and medical insurance payments. The teens then visited various table-top stations to “purchase” housing, transportation, food, clothing, household necessities, day care, and other needs. In addition, there was a “credit union” to help with financial needs. They also faced some unexpected expenses and windfalls, such as having to spend money on an anniversary gift or broken tent, or gaining $300 for wisely quitting a book club.
The teens who participated enjoyed the program, saying they learned they have to get things they need first before purchasing wants. And that children are expensive.
“It was fun,” said Nick Heese, 16. “It’s scary to know you’ll have to do this when I get older. But it’s fun to look into the future.”
Cindy Robles, 17, said she thought that with her and her 'husband' making so much money a month, she could buy a lot of expensive things. “I ended up being broke and had to return things,” she said.
That’s a lesson Jazmin Mannaa, 15, also acquired. “I learned you can’t spend a lot of money on dumb stuff. I need to save money and not blow it,” she said.
Redwood CU AVP of Training and Financial Literacy and CNYIN Board Chairman Lee Alderman manned the food/dining table during the event. He said the teens seemed to be getting into the program, and that's "always fun to see."
“Holding this session at the Leagues’ Annual Meeting & Convention was a great opportunity to not only reach local teens, but also to highlight the program for other chapters and credit unions that may be interested in holding a Bite of Reality fair in their own communities,” said Tena Lozano, RMJ Foundation executive director.
Patelco CU was the first credit union in California to use the Bite of Reality program in August with children of its employees. Since then, the RMJ Foundation has worked with various chapters—including the Orange County, Monterey Bay, and Northern Nevada chapters—to deliver Bite of Reality to more than 100 students throughout California and Nevada. The most recent event was held October 25 at Carson High School in Carson City, where approximately 35 students participated in the program. In January 2013, the program will be held at Kinecta FCU’s operations center.
The program is available to all members and chapters of the Leagues. The RMJ Foundation provides all the materials and training needed for the program at no cost. Additionally, a CNYIN board member will assist the credit union or chapter in organizing and delivering the event.