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Reality Fair during GAC to showcase youth fin ed
MADISON, Wis. (2/12/13)--The National Credit Union Foundation will conduct a Financial Reality Fair in conjunction with the Credit Union National Association's Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C., for a third consecutive year.

Volunteer and National Credit Union Foundation Deputy Executive Director Tom Candell counsels a teen on her budget after she visited all the booths at last year's Reality Fair during the Credit Union National Association's Governmental Affairs Conference. (Photo provided by the National Credit Union Foundation)

A Reality Fair is an interactive financial literacy tool for high school students.

"Conducting a Reality Fair at GAC is a great way to expose legislators and their staff about the unique and impactful financial education programs that are offered by credit unions," said Lois Kitsch, NCUF national REAL Solutions program director. "Not only are area high school students benefiting from the experience as well, but we welcome GAC attendees to the fair to see the benefits of holding a reality fair in their community."

The fair will be at the Rayburn House Office Building on Feb. 27, from noon to 2:00 p.m., with students attending from area schools--Capital City Public Charter School, Luke Charles Moore Academy, and Washington Metropolitan High School. GAC attendees can visit anytime to observe the fair.  

Last year, NCUF held a Reality Fair on Capitol Hill for Roosevelt Senior High School students. Afterwards, students indicated that almost 90% will start to budget their money every month, and 100% of students said it changed the way they will save and spend money.

The GAC event is sponsored by NCUF with support and expertise from:

  • The Credit Union League of Connecticut;
  • Maryland and D.C. Credit Union Association;
  • Congressional FCU, Washington, D.C.;
  • HEW FCU, Alexandria. Va.; and
  • GPO FCU, New Hartford, N.Y.
In the Reality Fair concept, students experience financial challenges similar to what they will face when they start life on their own. Students identify their career choice and starting salaries then complete a budget sheet requiring them to live within their monthly salary while paying for basics such as housing, utilities, transportation, clothing and food. Expenditures such as entertainment and travel are factored in as well.

Throughout the fair, students experience many temptations for additional spending and learn to balance their wants and needs to live on their own. After the students have visited the booths, students balance their budget, and then sit down with a "financial counselor" for review.

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