Greater Nevada Credit Union launches virtual bite of reality
Popular hands-on financial education simulation continues for students throughout the region
CARSON CITY, NV (May 29, 2020) — When COVID-19 shut down classroom learning nationwide, Greater Nevada Credit Union (GNCU) developed a solution to keep a free financial education program, which has served thousands of local students for more than eight years, running through new virtual channels. On May 20, GNCU, its volunteers, and 15 northern Nevada students launched the first virtual Bite of Reality.
Bite of Reality, created by the Richard Myles Johnson (RMJ) Foundation—the state foundation for credit unions in California and Nevada, is a hands-on simulation designed to give teens a taste of real-world financial situations. Participants receive a fictional occupation, salary, and family, as well as obligations such as student loan debt and medical insurance payments. Using the Bite of Reality app, they then visit various table-top stations within the host venue, often a school gymnasium or large meeting room, to ‘purchase’ necessities including housing, transportation, food, and childcare, as well as discretionary items such as entertainment. There is also a credit union station for questions and assistance, such as budgeting, saving and paying for unexpected expenses.
GNCU Community Outreach Supervisor Michelle Hale said her team came up with the virtual event idea and coordinated it through the RMJ Foundation. Invitations were posted via GNCU’s social media channels, and students signed up online for one of two, same-day simulations: a morning session for participants with only one smart device or computer to engage through Zoom video conferencing while using printed sheets for their calculations; and an afternoon session in which participants downloaded the Bite of Reality mobile app and used their computer or another smart device to further engage through Zoom.
Hale said, “Even though the event was virtual, participants still had to deal with ‘sales people’ trying to upsell them, and then weigh wants versus needs. Plus, the Fickle Finger of Fate was there to deliver random expenses or windfalls—just like in real life. And several of our volunteer ‘vendors’ dressed their parts and created virtual backgrounds, such as a day care and car dealership.”
“I thought the event was really cool. It was very educational and helped with financial management. I had a good time being a part of the whole thing,” said one 15-year-old participant.
Another participant, age 17, said: “I bought too big of a house in the beginning and I was afraid to spend money later because I did not want to be broke. It was stressing me out. I love the event because it prepped me for becoming an adult in a fun way. I have realized that I am not ready to be an adult.”
Richard Myles Johnson Foundation Executive Director said Greater Nevada was among the first credit unions to embrace the remote version of the Bite of Reality app.
“We’re grateful for their leadership in showing that this pandemic doesn’t have to stop us from delivering vital financial education to young people,” she said.
More virtual Bite of Reality events are launching soon for students of all ages. Those interested in participating can visit gncu.org/Resources/Education/Financial-Tools-Tips for information and updates, as well as access to other free financial education resources.
Greater Nevada Credit Union Hosts Virtual Bite of Reality Program for Local Youth
About Greater Nevada Credit Union (GNCU)
Greater Nevada Credit Union (GNCU) is headquartered in Carson City, Nev. and has been helping Nevadans with their financial needs since 1949. The credit union serves more than 77,000 consumers and small businesses, has over $1.2 billion in assets, and is the largest community-owned financial institution domiciled in Nevada. GNCU’s subsidiaries include Greater Commercial Lending, Greater Nevada Mortgage and Greater Nevada Insurance. GNCU has been consistently recognized as a Best Financial Institution in many of its service areas, a top employer by the Reno/Tahoe Best Places to Work Awards and is a four-time USDA National Lender of the Year. GNCU is also the title sponsor of Greater Nevada Field in Reno. For more information, call (800) 421-6674 or visit www.gncu.org.