ST. LOUIS (8/3/15)--More than 40 youth from Better Family Life’s Youth Leadership Program recently experienced what it will be like living on their own when they participated in a reality fair sponsored by Electro Savings CU in coordination with Bank On Save Up, a program formed by the St. Louis Unbanked Task Force.
The purpose of Bank On Save Up St. Louis is to provide acess to affordable financial services including checking and savings accounts, credit products and financial education. Eighteen financial institutions and 42 community partners including the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis are participants in the project.
The financial reality fair, titled “A Dollar and A Dream,” was the brainchild of St. Louis-based Electro Savings’ LaTonya Jackson, who along with three students working as interns for Bank On Save Up, developed the materials and put on the fair at Better Family Life in St. Louis City, the Missouri Credit Union Association reported.
“I’ve participated in local reality fairs before and love how they really wake up teens getting them to think about living on their own and paying their own bills,” said Jackson. “We added an urban twist by challenging the teens with merchants and advertising that you find when living in neighborhoods in urban areas.”
During the fair, teens were given a profile that included a job, salary and family situation. The first choice each teen made was how to handle their paycheck: Would they deposit it into a credit union account or cash it at a check cashing facility? They had to choose where to live and shop, even what brands of consumer products to purchase based on their income and family situation.
The goal was to have no more than $100 left at the end of every month to put towards a savings account. The fair even included a financial counselor table that was available throughout the shopping period.
Better Family Life is a community outreach group that transforms at-risk individuals and reclaims high-crime communities.