updated 10/08/12 03:53 PM
OC TEENS TAKE A 'BITE OF REALITY'
Program Offers Real-World Money Simulation
Some 26 teens recently took a "Bite of Reality" and learned the basics of finances at Century High School in Santa Ana, courtesy of the Richard Myles Johnson Foundation's newly launched program.
Some 26 teens recently took a "Bite of Reality" and learned the basics of finances at Century High School in Santa Ana, courtesy of the Richard Myles Johnson Foundation's newly launched program.
The high school students participated in Bite of Reality, a two-and-a-half-hour, hands-on simulation program, offered by the RMJ Foundation together with the California and Nevada Youth Involvement Network. The event was hosted by the Orange County Chapter and featured volunteers from chapter credit unions Kinecta FCU, Orange County’s CU, SchoolsFirst FCU, and Wescom CU.
At the September 22 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.
Teens visited various table-top stations to “purchase” housing, transportation, food, clothing, household necessities, day care, and other needs (and faced some unexpected expenses and windfalls) during the nearly three-hour interactive event.
The teens enjoyed it, saying they learned to be more wise in their finances by focusing on purchasing things they needed first before spending money on things they wanted.
“Everyone who participated had fun,” said Kathryn Miles, internal communications officer with SchoolsFirst FCU and education chairman for the O.C. Chapter. “For the volunteers, it was amazing to see how much the students learned in just two hours. By the end they realized how important it is to budget for things like housing, transportation and child care before planning their next vacation or purchasing a flat screen TV.”
The September 22 Bite of Reality event was hosted by the Orange County Chapter and featured volunteers from chapter credit unions Kinecta FCU, Orange County’s CU, SchoolsFirst FCU, and Wescom CU.
"This interactive activity gives teens a hands-on opportunity to experience making financial decisions, and a better understanding of the challenges of living on a budget," said Tena Lozano, executive director of the RMJ Foundation. "And it's all conducted in a fun, low-risk setting. The energy in the room at the event was amazing. The teens were engaged and enthusiastic throughout."
Patelco CU was the first credit union in California to use the Bite of Reality program in August with children of its employees. In October, the RMJ Foundation will be working with the Monterey Bay Chapter to deliver the program to more than 100 teens in Santa Cruz.
The program is available to all members and chapters of the California and Nevada Credit Union 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.
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