Reality Store

reality signLooking for a little dose of reality? The junior class at Kaukauna High School certainly was when they attended the 7th annual “Reality Store”.

Unison’s Financial Education Coordinator (and guest blogger today), Laura Weber, worked behind the scenes with KHS guidance counselor Michelle Feucht prepping the “store” and the students. Laura explains more about this awesome event:

Each spring Unison sponsors and assists with the Kaukauna High School Reality Store. It is a simulation game in which students are assigned a career, marital status and family size. They are given a mock checkbook with the monthly income entered for their specific career. Students then visit booths, manned by community members, where they pay their monthly bills. At each booth, students make decisions concerning a standard of living they’ll assume. For example, at the housing booth (manned by a realtor), students decide if they want to pay for a one-bedroom efficiency apartment or a five-bedroom home.

There are a total of 16 booths each student must visit ranging from Uncle Sam, to the veterinarian, to daycare. If students find they are running out of money, they have the option to visit the S.O.S. booth to pick up a part-time job, trade in an expensive car or even downsize their home.

Over forty volunteers from the community, including five staff members from Unison Credit Union, work with students to help with making smart decisions and completely thinking through purchases. Most volunteers will tell you they walk away with just as much learned from the experience as the students do.

The Reality Store is a great way to bring our teenage students together with professionals in the community. Students look forward to the opportunity to learn more about how career choice and lifestyle expectations affect the “reality” of what life will be like when they are older.

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