League of Southeastern Credit Unions & Affiliates holds Mad City Money reality fair at annual conference
55 Central Florida students took part in simulation; Students left with a greater sense of how to budget
BIRMINGHAM, AL/TALLAHASSEE, FL (June 23, 2015) — Last week the League of Southeastern Credit Unions & Affiliates (LSCU) held a Mad City Money Reality Simulation at its annual Southeast Credit Union Conference & Expo at the JW Marriott in Orlando. Fifty-five middle and high school students from the YMCA Teen Achiever’s Program of Central Florida participated in the event. The students represented seven schools in the Orlando area considered “at-risk.”
The Mad City Money Reality Simulation offered participants a real-life experience where each student was transformed into a 24 year-old adult, assigned an occupation, a salary, and various other obligations including children. Each student was challenged to visit 10 different stations to make choices on items such as child care, housing, transportation, clothing, food, and various wants while trying to stay within his or her budget. There was a credit union station that students were encouraged to visit when they needed advice or when they got in over their heads with their choices. Just like a real budget, if they made poor choices, they were able to revisit stations to make a smarter choice.
While the kids benefited from the program, so did their parents. One child said, after being confronted with adult financial decisions, “Now I understand it better when my parents say they can’t afford for us to do something.” One parent explained that “Programs such as this one allows young people to gain a real world perspective as they experience the highs and lows of life. As a parent, I am grateful for my children to have had this opportunity because it opens the door to additional conversations about money.”
“The reality fair was a huge success,” said LSCU President/CEO Patrick La Pine. “All evaluations came back with positive comments and the students remained engaged. The Reality Fair is meant to be fun but eye opening. If the kids are having fun the ‘reality’ of financial decisions will have a better chance to stick with them once they leave.”
The goal of the workshop was for the participants to develop skills and knowledge that will serve as a reference point when they are older and are making the same choices in real life. LSCU & Affiliates Member Relations Consultant Juli Lewis and Director of the Southeastern Credit Union Foundation Leonard Parkhurst facilitated the Mad Money Reality Simulation with the help of 21 volunteers who were primarily from LSCU’s regional Young Professional Groups.
LSCU held the Mad City Money Reality Simulation as part of the conference to personally show its member credit unions an interactive and effective way to spread financial education with the goal of having them bring the idea back to their credit unions and communities. By taking the simulation back to their local communities, credit unions can have a greater impact on members and their children by providing them a foundation of what it means to budget and make sound financial decisions.
For more information on the League of Southeastern Credit Unions & Affiliates, please visit www.lscu.coop.
The League of Southeastern Credit Unions represents 274 credit unions in Alabama and Florida with a combined total of $68 billion in assets and more than 6.8 million members. LSCU provides advocacy and regulatory information; education and training; cooperative initiatives (including financial education outreach); media relations and information; and business solutions. For more information, visit www.lscu.coop. Follow the League on Twitter at twitter.com/LeagueofSECUs or Facebook at facebook.com/LeagueofSoutheasternCreditUnions.