Pennsylvania Credit Union Foundation expands reach of Reality Fair program

A National Credit Union Foundation grant at work

The Pennsylvania Credit Union Foundation (PCUF) increased the reach of their Financial Reality Fair program with 40 fairs being held across the state of Pennsylvania in 2016. The Pennsylvania Credit Union Association received support for this initiative from the National Credit Union Foundation (the 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, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Credit Union Foundation. “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, helping them to experience some of the financial challenges they will face when they start life on their own after high school.

To meet the increasing demand for Reality Fairs in the state of Pennsylvania, PCUF trained four credit union staff and two Foundation staff members to assist with fairs. They were also able to purchase four new Reality Fair kits, which were distributed across the state to credit union partners.

Through this addition of new trainees and Reality Fair kits, 18 new 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, Students across the state participated in a Reality Fair at the Pennsylvania State Capitol in honor of International Credit Union Day.ultimately reaching 5,159 student participants.

“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.”

After attending one of the Reality Fairs, a student participant said the best part about the fair was, “Having the experience of handling my own money and being able to get a general feel of how the future will be. It helped put things into perspective.”

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.”


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