Nearly 40 students from Roseville High School’s Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program got a “bite of reality” May 8, when they attended an interactive financial education simulation designed to teach them how to manage money. The program was hosted by Patelco Credit Union, which has several branches throughout the Sacramento-area, including Roseville. It was offered by the Richard Myles Johnson (RMJ) Foundation, the state foundation for credit unions in California and Nevada.
The event—which aims to teach young people the basics of finance in a fun way—was run by employees from Patelco and Sacramento-based First US Community Credit Union, who volunteered their time.
At the beginning of the event, held in the high school’s library, the teens were given a fictional occupation, salary, spouse and family, student loan debt, credit card debt, and medical insurance payments. They then visited various stations to "purchase" items such as housing, transportation, food, clothing, household necessities, and daycare. If participants ran into difficulty, the "credit union" station was there to provide assistance with budgeting. Throughout the simulation, the students also faced unexpected expenses and windfalls.
"Giving teens this hands-on opportunity to experience making financial decisions in a low-risk setting gives them a better understanding of the challenges of living on a budget before they have to make those decisions in the ‘real world’," said Tena Lozano, executive director of the RMJ Foundation.
During the program, one student commented he had no idea food cost so much, while others lamented the cost of taking care of kids and how difficult it was to spend wisely.
AVID 12 Teacher Dean Gadway applauded the program because, “we send kids into the marketplace without knowing about consumer economics.”
Patelco Credit Union Business Development Representative Beverly Barkhurst, who helped organized the event, called working with Gadway and all of the AVID students at Roseville High School for the past few years rewarding.
“By bringing the ‘Bite of Reality’ program to this year’s seniors, I hope we were able to help them have a better understanding of their financial future,” she added.
About Patelco Credit Union: Founded in 1936, Patelco Credit Union ranks among the largest credit unions in California and the nation with more than $3.9 billion in assets and more than 270,000 members. Throughout its 77-year history, Patelco has helped its members and their communities prosper through volunteer initiatives and personalized service that focuses on transparency, simplicity in banking, and garnering trust. Patelco is a federally insured, not-for-profit, full-service credit union that offers the same types of products and services as large banks.
About Richard Myles Johnson Foundation:The Richard Myles Johnson Foundation, founded in 1958, is dedicated to supporting credit union efforts in spreading the financial literacy message to young people. The Foundation offers the Bite of Reality program, a hands-on simulation program that teaches the basics of finances to teenagers. It also provides scholarships for credit union volunteers and staff to attend seminars and conferences to further their educational and professional development. It is funded through donations from credit unions, League chapters, corporations providing credit union services, and individuals. More information about the Foundation is available at its website at www.rmjfoundation.org.