We’ve all been there.
One moment, everything in your life is planned, double-checked, and wearing a safety harness to make sure that nothing unexpected comes your way.
Then, you leave high school and everything changes. EVERYTHING!
It has been said many times that one of the biggest gaps in graduating students’ lives is the lack of proper preparation for financial independence. With that in mind, “The Reality Store” was established – something that Carver College and Career Academy students experienced a few days ago.
Led by CIS Coordinator Jennifer Hilliard and 4-H Youth Development Agent for Chesterfield County Bethany Eigel, community volunteers were placed at 10 different “real world” stations (such as housing, transportation, and Uncle Sam) around the library at Carver.
Students were given randomly assigned occupations and family sizes.
They were then asked to build budgets based on their income and family needs that incorporated everything an adult needs to survive.
Needless to say, it was an enlightening process!
The majority of the students were shocked at how difficult it was to stick to their budget.
Several students only found financial success by relying on public transportation, shared housing, and second jobs – realities that many families in Chesterfield County are quite familiar with.
After the “Reality Store” experience, one student asked for a meeting with their Economics & Personal Finance teacher so that they could work on a real budget together. Another student shared the experience with her mother, citing the program for giving her insight into the sacrifices her mother had made for her and her siblings.
This event was engaging, impactful, and authentic. It is the very core of what we strive to provide through Communities in Schools.