400 High School Freshmen Get a ‘Bite of Reality’ at Fair Co-Hosted by Washington CUs

More than 400 high school freshmen in Shelton, Washington, learned the financial ins-and-outs during a “day in the life” of an adult earlier this month at a Bite of Reality fair hosted by Peninsula Credit Union and Our Community Credit Union.

Bite of Reality is an app-based Financial Reality Fair available to interested Northwest credit unions through the Northwest Credit Union Foundation. The simulation provides each participant with a randomly assigned occupation, spouse, child, credit score, and monthly income. The students are then sent out to make choices about monthly expenses including housing, transportation, food, childcare, entertainment, and more. Through this event, students experience the real-time impacts of spending and saving and the importance of money management.

“I think it’s really beneficial to kids to learn how money works and how to manage it, how to budget it, how to save,” said Richard Beckman III, one of the participating students. “Those are things you don’t learn in school, but are really vital when you become an adult.”

Peninsula and Our Community, both based in Shelton, hosted four sessions over two days (Nov. 2-3) with help from credit union volunteers and the local community. The event was also covered by the local media.

“I love this. I think this really great. I wish they did this when my daughter was in school,” said Eileen Bailey, of E.L. Kristyn $ Son Construction, one of several community volunteers who helped with the fair. “The fun thing is hearing them really see that it is reality. It’s like, ‘Oh gosh, I don’t have money for this.’”

NWCUF offers grant kits to credit unions interested in hosting the fairs. These kits include all the materials and support needed to run an in-person fair as well as 10 Kindle devices to loan out to participants who may not have their own devices. Credit unions interested in learning more about hosting a Financial Reality Fair can contact Maija Noll, NWCUF Program Coordinator, or apply for a grant online.

“Credit unions are dedicated to the financial success of their members and providing access to financial education and counseling — really that just-in-time education piece,” said Noll. “When someone is preparing to purchase a vehicle or a home, we want them to have the knowledge to do it within the appropriate budget and in a way that’s going to help them thrive financially.”

Jim Morrell, President and CEO of Peninsula Credit Union, said the Fair was a fun way to not only provide great financial education to the students but also create a broader awareness of Peninsula’s positive impact in the community.

“Peninsula Credit Union is dedicated to promoting community development,” Morrell said. “By listening to people, serving their financial needs with affordable financial services, educating to create a personal development plan, we demonstrate our care to enrich their lives and help them to achieve financial stability. And by making that kind of difference in the lives of the people we impact, like the Bite of Reality students, our influence and the stories they tell in the community will make the difference in our ability to continue providing those services.”

To find out more about how the Northwest Credit Union Foundation can support your credit union’s financial education work, please visit their website or send them an email.

Posted in Financial Education, Foundation.