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Community School Students Learn Financial Decision Making

SCOE Students Learn Money Concepts As They Take a “Bite of Reality”

Volunteer helping student at housing needs station

Community School students enrolled in Elinor Lincoln Hickey and Nathaniel S. Colley Jr./Sr. High Schools recently got a taste of the real world when they participated in “Bite of Reality,” a hands-on simulation that provides financial decision-making opportunities in a variety of realistic scenarios.

The learning opportunities at the two schools were conducted by SAFE Credit Union, with help from Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) volunteers, to introduce teens to four basic money concepts: planning, saving, spending, and borrowing.

Students reviewed the meaning of standard financial terms with the SAFE CU staff, including things like budget, deposit, fee, and debit. Students then received a folder containing a fictional persona to take on, including their profession, monthly income, spouse’s income, credit score, health care payments, credit card debt, and student loan debt.

The students then visited a simulation area with nine table-top stations to “purchase” housing, transportation, food, clothing, childcare, entertainment, and various other necessities. It didn’t take long for them to realize they might not have the money to buy a sports car if they wanted to buy groceries or have a roof over their heads! The simulation even offered opportunities to discuss choices like buying designer clothing vs. shopping for clothes at a thrift store.

Vice Principal Jenn Kunkle was thrilled to see how engaged the students were at both the Colley and Hickey campuses. “It’s nice to see our students interacting and asking questions of the adults, from both SAFE and SCOE,” she said. “Even kids that aren’t usually engaged got a lot out of this life skills experience.”

The “Bite of Reality” team will take the financial literacy event to El Centro Jr./Sr. High School next. El Centro is a SCOE Juvenile Court School program that serves youth up to 25 years old within the Sacramento County Youth Detention Facility.

About Bite of Reality

The Richard Myles Johnson Foundation helps credit unions offer the Bite of Reality program, a hands-on simulation exercise that teaches teenagers financial basics. Founded in 1958, the foundation supports credit union efforts to spread financial literacy to young people.