Volunteers Needed to Guide Spokane-Area Teachers through Financial Reality Fair

They are more apt to pay their credit card balances in full and to review their credit reports annually. They are far more likely to save, whether it’s for retirement, their children’s education or emergencies. They are less likely to bounce checks, and they worry more about debt than the average person in the United States.

When it comes to managing their own finances, at least, most of the teachers who typically attend the Financial Education Public-Private Partnership’s Financial Education & Training Institute – and who teach personal finance in Washington’s schools – seem to know what they’re doing. But few have had any real training when it comes to helping their students become smart financial consumers, too.

That’s where the institute comes in. When 50 teachers gather at the NewTech Skills Center in Spokane next month, they’ll get classroom-ready lesson plans and knowledge they can share with students in grades K-12 about everything from credit and careers to budgeting, investing, identity theft and more.

They’ll also get a chance to test what they’ve learned at the Northwest Credit Union Foundation’s Financial Reality Fair, a hands-on simulation with a distinctively real-world feel. The fair will be held on Friday, Feb. 28, in conjunction with the FEPPP institute.

Volunteers are being recruited now to play the role of merchants or financial counselors at the fair, which will run from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Nineteen volunteers are needed, and there’s no advance training required — just the desire to help teachers gain the skills they’ll need to show their students how to be smart financial consumers.

To volunteer, go to the Foundation’s website here.

At the Reality Fair, teachers 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, teachers will then document their income and expenses, balance their monthly budget and get a “financial counselor” to sign off on their plan.

Kim Vu, the Foundation’s executive director, was recently appointed to the FEPPP board by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. Both organizations share a deep commitment, she says, to financial literacy for children and adults.

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

For more information about the FEPPP institute or the Financial Reality Fair, contact Kim Vu at 206.340.4818 or kvu@nwcua.org. To volunteer, go to the Foundation’s website here.


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

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