During National Credit Union Youth Month in April, Wisconsin credit unions are helping young people navigate the world of money and finances.
A great example is Educators Credit Union, which works with high schools in southeastern Wisconsin through an innovative program called Reality Check Days.
Students take part in an interactive, virtual simulation demonstrating how career and spending choices impact their lives after they leave the classroom.
“To be able to walk through the day of a working adult, a working professional, it doesn’t get better than the Reality Check experience,” said Andre Douglas, Senior Director of College Access and Success Services for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee. "Kids are able to see 'If I have children, if life happens, how will I be prepared for it?' I believe they leave taking that process more seriously after having participated."
Victor Frasher, Director of Community Engagement at Educators Credit Union, coordinates Reality Check Days with the schools.
“The value of Reality Check Day is that students can see realistically how their lives might play out five years after they graduate,” Frasher said. “Even if they have a classmate that chooses the exact same career path, they can see their lives are vastly different with the variations: single, divorced, kids, different credit scores. I think they enjoy the authenticity of the experience.”
And the value for Educators Credit Union? “We get to live our core values of honesty, integrity, fairness, respect, and excellence,” Frasher said. “We really take it to heart that we are here to educate the communities that we serve.”
This video delves more into the Reality Check Day experience:
In addition to the National Credit Union Youth Month designation, Gov. Evers also proclaimed April as Financial Literacy and Capability Month. As part of their mission, Wisconsin's credit unions provide financial literacy and wellness programs (such as certified financial counseling and reality fairs) as well as complimentary access to other financial educational materials. They also foster healthy savings habits for young people through youth savings accounts and programs like Savers Sweepstakes(R), and operate over 100 student-run, in-school branches.
“The outreach that Wisconsin’ credit unions do in April and throughout the year is built into who we are,” said Brett Thompson, President and CEO of The Wisconsin Credit Union League. “Building communities where people can reach their potential and live rewarding lives is foundational to our member institutions.”
For more on how Wisconsin's credit unions have a positive impact on Wisconsin families, businesses, local organizations, and the economy, visit wicreditunions.coop