Foster Youth Spend Time in Mad City

For Immediate Release
Greg Meyer
Meriwest Credit Union
Community Relations Manager
Direct Line: 408-365-6328                                             

SAN JOSE, CA – January 25, 2012– On Thursday, January 19th, 13 volunteers from Meriwest Credit Union met at the Santa Clara County Social Services Auditorium and transported 27 Foster Youth students into the future! The Meriwest volunteers put on a “Mad City Money” simulation program for the young adults in the County’s Foster Youth program. “Mad City Money” is a program developed by CUNA (Credit Union National Association) that teaches young people about budget and lifestyle management in the real world. Each student is given an occupation, a salary, a family, and some debt. Participants learn to create and manage a monthly budget in “Mad City.”

In “Mad City,” the vendors are encouraged to “up-sell” the students to make them overspend and create difficult budget situations. Students often have to go back to vendors to get refunds and buy some less expensive items. Just like in life, there are variables in “Mad City.” One variable is the vendors. Some are not as honest as they should be as we had vendors who took advantage of some students’ naivety and convinced them to overspend on a car or personal accessories.  Other times the Fickle Finger of Fate pointed at them and gave them life events in big doses; their wife gets teeth whitening: spend $200, sold their CD collection: make $45, and there were dozens of other situations that happen in our lives that would either cheer our students or give them the blues. In the end, everyone was a winner as students learned how the decisions they make about life and money can have some far reaching consequences.

“On behalf of my agency, please accept my heartfelt thanks and deepest appreciation for the time, energy, and effort the team put into making this activity a success! They were so creative in setting up their “merchant” tables and really engaged with the youth.” said Liza Giron-Espinoza, Foster Youth Program Supervisor for the Santa Clara County Social Services Agency.  “It was a special night that created some great memories for our youth and taught them some valuable lessons. Not only did I see a team of knowledgeable professionals, but a group of people who really cared!”

“Indeed, it was a special night and not one that our CU volunteer vendors would soon forget. My sincere thanks go to the Santa Clara County Social Services Foster Youth program managers who worked with us to present this event. The students seemed to have a great time with it too.” said Greg Meyer, Community Relations Manager for Meriwest Credit Union. “Our team of CU and finance professionals reached out to the students and connected with them about money.  We were able to do away with the generational and economic differences between us to focus on the important lesson of the day; manage your money well and thrive! Manage it poorly and live with the consequences.”

Photo Caption: Pictured here are: (standing from L to R) Wil Juni, Brittany Yasay, Desiree Ramos, Khanh Nguyen, Luis Alvarez, Jessica Leuppold, Elena Marquez (Santa Clara Co. Social Services Foster Youth Rep), Oscar Sanchez, Mary Williams, Russ Towne (independent investment representative). Seated from L to R is Christine Banh and Catherine Keydeniers.

About Meriwest Credit Union

Meriwest Credit Union, one of Silicon Valley’s largest and established financial institutions, has been providing proactive, personal, convenient and innovative financial services to over 83,000 businesses and families throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and Tucson, Arizona, for more than 50 years. More information can be found at

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