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|Patelco CU Gen Y Manager Veronica Dangerfield—serving as the “Fickle Finger of Fate” and doling out unexpected windfalls or expenses—targets a Roseville High School student participating in the Bite of Reality program.|
The program was hosted by Patelco CU, which has several branches throughout the Sacramento-area. It was offered by the Richard Myles Johnson (RMJ) Foundation.
The event, which aims to teach young people the basics of finance in a fun way, was run by employees from Patelco and First US Community CU, 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 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.