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Patelco CU, Schools Financial CU, First US Community CU, and Sacramento CU presented a Bite of Reality event April 8 at Pleasant Grove High School in Elk Grove.

updated 04/22/14 12:07 PM
CUs Catch the 'Save Wave'
Credit unions in California and Nevada are celebrating National Financial Literacy Month and National Credit Union Youth Week™ (April 22-27) with a number of programs and events.

In addition, nine credit unions and two chapters are holding "Bite of Reality" events throughout both states, reaching nearly 1,000 students.

The hands-on simulation Bite of Reality program is offered by the Richard Myles Johnson Foundation (RMJ), together with the California and Nevada Youth Involvement Network. It is designed to teach young people the basics of finance in a fun, interactive way. Participants are given a fictional occupation, salary, spouse and family, student loan debt, credit card debt, and medical insurance payments.

They then visit various table-top stations to "purchase" housing, transportation, food, clothing, household necessities, day care, and other needs. A "credit union" table is available to help those who experience the unpleasant consequences of spending beyond their means.

Those that have hosted or will be hosting events in April include: Bay FCU, Delta Schools FCU, Desert Valleys FCU, First US Community CU, Patelco CU, Redwood CU, Sacramento CU, Schools Financial CU, and United Health CU as well as credit unions involved with the Beach Cities Chapter, including Kinecta FCU and SkyOne FCU, and the El Camino Chapter, including San Francisco FCU, San Mateo, Sequoia FCU, SF Police CU, and United Health CU. The Southern Nevada Chapter held an event at the end of March while California CU, Greater Nevada CU, and SchoolsFirst FCU have events planned for May.

By the end of May, an estimated 1,378 students will have been reached so far this year. In 2013, "Bite of Reality" programs reached nearly 1,300 students.

This year’s Youth Week theme is Catch the $ave Wave™, and many credit unions, including Redwood CU and Kinecta FCU, were getting in the act by providing incentives to help young people save.

Some of the many other activities for the month included:

  • Bay FCU was scheduled to hold a kids’ coloring contest; give out prizes as part of the Youth Saving Challenge (including cash prizes and notebook computer); staff will wear a special Youth Week dress code (walking shorts or board shorts, Hawaiian shirts, and “dressy” flip flops); and an employee coloring contest of 3-foot long cardboard surfboards that will be used to decorate branches and back office areas—winning surfboard will receive a prize.
  • Greater Nevada CU will focus this year’s Youth Week activities at its educational branch at Carson High School. It’s holding a contest where all students can enter to win an iPod Nano and a $15 iTunes gift card—with the hope of creating more awareness of the branch. Greater Nevada is also giving a fun beach-themed gift (neon sunglasses) to any students who make a deposit into their savings account during Youth Week.
  • San Francisco FCU will be involved in two Junior Achievement workshops at Lincoln High School and conduct a Mad City Money workshop at International Studies Academy. It is also sponsoring (and manning a table at) Healthy Kids Day at Peninsula Family YMCA.
  • Silver State Schools CU will have a piggy bank full of coins at each branch. Youth members have to guess how many coins are in the piggy bank; the winner gets the piggy bank and the cash inside. In addition, any youth member that comes into a branch during Youth Week wearing flip flops will get a free t-shirt.
  • Travis CU is offering community seminars, including those for first-time homebuyers and wise credit card usage. For youth, it will hold special presentations throughout the community.
  • The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues celebrated Financial Fitness Day by having a casual day and a 1K walk to benefit the RMJ Foundation and the National Credit Union Foundation.

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