Volunteers Needed to Play Merchants and Counselors at Financial Reality Fair

Washington state legislators can take a break from their own budget negotiations to see how high school students would make ends meet when the Northwest Credit Union Foundation hosts a Financial Reality Fair in February on the Capitol grounds in Olympia.

Volunteers are being recruited now to play the role of merchants or financial counselors at the fair, which will be held on Thursday, Feb. 6, in conjunction with the Northwest Credit Union Association’s Credit Union Day at the Capitol. That event gives advocates a chance to “hike the hill” in small groups and share the credit union message in face-to-face meetings with legislators from their districts.

The Financial Reality Fair, says Foundation Executive Director Kim Vu, is a chance to show lawmakers how credit unions put that message to work every day.

“Financial education is a cornerstone of so many credit unions’ investment in their communities,” says Vu.  “At the Foundation, we are delighted to work alongside our credit unions in the community to bring forth partnerships with financial education organizations and signature programs like the Financial Reality Fair.”

At the Reality Fair, which will run from 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m., students will choose a career and a salary and then have to figure out how to create a budget that covers housing, food and other essentials. They’ll visit with volunteer “merchants” — apartment leasing agents, auto dealers and insurance agents, for example — to obtain the goods and services needed in everyday life. And just like in the real world, they’ll be tempted by entertainment opportunities and other non-essential services that can often wreak havoc on a family’s budget.

Armed with all of that information, students will then document their income and expenses, balance their monthly budget and get a “financial counselor” to sign off on their plan.

Thirty volunteers are needed to play the roles of merchants and financial counselors.  There’s no advance training required, Vu says — just the desire to give young people the skills they’ll need to be smart financial consumers.

For more information about the Financial Reality Fair, contact Josalyn Alston at 206.340.4814 or jalston@nwcua.org. To volunteer, go to the Foundation’s website here.

Questions? Contact Gary Stein: 503.350.2216,gstein@nwcua.org.

Posted in Events.