The Pennsylvania Credit Union Foundation (PCUF) increased the reach of its financial reality fair program in 2016, holding 40 events across the state.
The Pennsylvania Credit Union Association received support for this initiative from the National Credit Union Foundation through an Experiential Learning Grant.
“We are so grateful to the Foundation for their support of our expansion of financial reality fairs,” said Kathleen Fey, Pennsylvania Credit Union Foundation executive director. “Having multiple kits available to circulate around the state has allowed us to introduce Reality Fairs to more students than ever before.”
A financial reality fair is an interactive financial literacy tool for high school students. It allows them to experience some of the financial challenges they will face when they start life on their own after high school. Students are provided with fictional occupations, salaries, families, debts, and health insurance payments. They then visit booths at the fair to “purchase” items ranging from housing and transportation to food and clothing.
To meet the increasing demand for reality fairs, PCUF trained four credit union employees and two of its own staff members to assist with fairs. PCUF also purchased four reality fair kits, which were distributed across the state to credit union partners.
Through this addition of new trainees and reality fair kits, 18 reality fairs were conducted in schools across the state. In addition to the 18 new reality fairs, 22 other reality fairs were hosted in Pennsylvania, reaching 5,159 students.
“We are very pleased with the work that the Pennsylvania Credit Union Foundation has done around reality fairs this year,” said Lois Kitsch, National Program Director at the Foundation. “It is great to see their passion for youth financial literacy, and they have done a tremendous job improving the financial futures of students in their state.”
The students who attended the reality fairs now have a better understanding of money management, budgeting, and saving. Through post-reality fair surveys, 79% of students responded that they now think it is very important to save money. One of the student participants said, “I will now begin to think about saving more money to get a head start.”