Kids Get Bite of Reality at ‘REACH’ while RMJ Thanks Contributors

Bite of Reality event with kids

Students from Hollywood High School got a “bite of reality” when they attended an interactive financial education simulation designed to teach them how to manage money in the morning hours before the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues’ REACH 2018 conference kicked off on Wednesday afternoon.

The Nov. 7 event at the Loews Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles, CA was offered by the Richard Myles Johnson (RMJ) Foundation, the state foundation for credit unions in California and Nevada. It aimed to teach young people the basics of finance by having them take a “real world” test drive, complete with a job, money, and the freedom to make their own financial decisions.

Via the Bite of Reality app, each of the 31 students from Alissa Abad's algebra class received a persona complete with occupation, salary, spouse and family, student loan debt, credit card debt, and medical insurance payments. With the app also providing them with a personalized monthly income, each student went “shopping” for items such as housing, transportation, food, clothing, household necessities, and daycare.

Throughout the event, the students dealt with pushy salespeople portrayed by volunteers from various credit unions. And when some overspent, those staffing the "credit union" station provided much-needed assistance.

“This really gives the students an idea of all the different things they have to keep in mind—more than housing and transportation, but also things like personal care," said Abad.

She said the kids were enjoying the day’s program, “getting into it.” They told her it’s been hard to say “no” to some purchases. “They keep asking me, ‘This is what you have to have to do all the time?’”

This taste of reality is exactly what Tena Lozano, executive director of the RMJ Foundation, hopes young people take away from the Bite of Reality program.

“It’s great to provide a no-risk environment like this so that when these young people face these same situations later in life, they can make good financial choices,” she said.

RMJ Foundation’s Donor Appreciation Gala

That night, convention attendees and guests attended the Richard Myles Johnson Foundation’s Donor Appreciation Gala, a yearly favorite of credit union professionals dedicated to the funding and support of financial education in schools across California and Nevada.

“The RMJ Donor Appreciation Gala gives us the opportunity to thank all our 2018 donors and share with them the successes the foundation had because of their support,” said Tena Lozano, executive director of the foundation.

In 2018, the RMJ Foundation’s “Bite of Reality” program reached more than 20,000 students throughout California and Nevada, thanks to more than 70 credit unions that offer the program in their communities. The Bite of Reality App, which has replaced student worksheets and revolutionized reality fairs, is now being licensed out to state credit union foundations and credit unions across the country, with grant support from the National Credit Union Foundation.

The gala was sponsored exclusively by SRM (Strategic Resource Management).

The RMJ Foundation is named after, and honors, credit union industry icon and former Western Corporate FCU (WesCorp) CEO Richard Myles Johnson, who passed away in August 2016 at the age of 92. He is remembered for his decades of dedication, commitment, and service to the credit union movement and philosophy.

Want a "recap" of REACH 2018? Visit the "REACH Onsite Live" news page! Also check out the REACH Social Wall—a round-up of social media posts. Or see Twitter (@CUatREACH). This year’s REACH 2018 conference—hosted by the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues from Nov. 6 – 9—was held at the Loews Hotel near Hollywood & Highland (in Hollywood, CA), a world-class entertainment destination. The annual REACH conference is a premier event drawing 700 – 800 credit union leaders and system partners from across the United States.

Pin It