Educating Youth: High School Reality Fairs

Blog Author Karen Childs

Written by: Karen Childs

Published: April 16, 2015

Found in: Community, Education

Educating Youth: High School Reality Fairs

I had the unique opportunity to work with two young ladies at King’s High School in facilitating the WSECU Reality Fair to the senior class on their Financial Literacy Day. These two young ladies are in the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) Club and wanted to use our Reality Fair for their regional DECA competition. DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe. They also asked if I would be their mentor for this project and help guide them through the process.

I worked with Sarah and Josie to organize, schedule and recruit volunteers for this event. I also coached them on how to present the orientation piece that guides the student through the Reality Fair.

The Reality Fair is a hands-on financial learning experience where students are given a life scenario that includes an education and a new career. After they attend an informational orientation, they are provided a budget sheet requiring them to live within their monthly salary while paying for basics such as housing, utilities, transportation, clothing and food. Of course, there are many temptations for additional spending and students must learn to balance their wants and needs to live on their own. After they have visited all the booths, students calculate costs and then sit down with a financial coach to review their choices.

On the day of the event, we had three groups of approximately 40 students per group. This event was a great success and we even had several visitors walk through during the fair, including the King’s High School principal, who was very impressed.

Josie did a wonderful job presenting the orientation piece to her fellow classmates. The students had a great time learning what it takes to live in the real world and the actual cost of doing so. We had 35 volunteers working the booths and acting as financial coaches. They enjoyed working with the students and thought that this event was very beneficial for the students.

Having the opportunity to volunteer and help educate youth about financial literacy in a fun and interactive atmosphere was a fulfilling and rewarding experience on so many levels. Thank you, WSECU.

Karen Childs