How Credit Unions Can Keep Students Engaged this Summer and Beyond

6/22/2021

Throughout the school year, thousands of children and young adults across the Northwest learn basic money principles thanks to free financial education resources offered by the region’s credit unions.

Good news: Even with school out for the summer, credit unions can still engage with local youth through Financial Reality Fairs, such as Bite of Reality.

Launched by the Northwest Credit Union Foundation in partnership with the National Credit Union Foundation and the Richard Myles Johnson Foundation, Bite of Reality is a high-tech, app-based program that teaches youth real-world budgeting skills to help prepare them for adulthood. Using their smartphone or tablet, each student downloads a fictional persona, career, salary, and credit score. They’re then guided through a day-in-the-life of an adult’s financial responsibilities and must finish the exercise with a balanced budget.

Mid Oregon Credit Union, headquartered in Bend, Oregon, recently hosted a Bite of Reality fair at Realms High School. Adhering to social distancing mandates, the event was held outdoors, but participating students were just as engaged and eager to learn about personal finance. A local TV station came out to film a segment of the event as part of a Mid Oregon-sponsored program called “One Class at a Time.” Check out the video below:

NWCUF continues to support remote Financial Reality Fairs and has grant kits available to support in-person programs. The Foundation provides all materials and support to facilitate a successful event. Credit unions interested in hosting a Bite of Reality fair this summer can contact Claire Hendrix, NWCUF Program Director, or apply for a grant online.

The Learning Continues This Fall

When summer ultimately ends and students return to the classroom, credit unions can keep the momentum going with the national financial literacy initiative, Biz Kid$. Through the program, credit unions partner with educators to teach youth solid financial skills, encouraging students to showcase their creative business ideas while practicing smart financial decision-making.

The 2021-2022 program offers a flexible curriculum with up to 12 lesson plans that may be broken into smaller units to suit teachers’ schedules and adapted for in-person or remote learning. All lesson plans, including some available in Spanish, align with state education standards. The program includes an optional Business Plan Competition, which allows students to build their own business using knowledge from Biz Kid$ while practicing financial education, entrepreneurial, public speaking, and teamwork skills.

Northwest credit unions can download and share this outreach flyer with local schools and teachers who may be interested in Biz Kid$.

For more information about Biz Kid$, please contact Maija Noll, NWCUF Development and Program Coordinator.