Redwood Credit Union (RCU) held its 100th free “Bite of Reality” financial workshop for teens on Wednesday, March 7th at San Rafael High School. In an interactive simulation of the money management challenges facing adults, 118 students learned about managing income versus expenses, and paying for housing, child care, and more. The event marked RCU’s 100th “Bite of Reality” fair in the North Bay.
RCU’s first Bite of Reality event was held at San Rafael HS in April of 2013. Since then, RCU has partnered with 24 North Bay schools and 11 youth organizations to offer the program. More than 7,700 teens have participated in RCU’s Bite of Reality events to date.
“Managing money is a life skill that adults have to practice daily, yet it’s not part of the state-required high school curriculum,” said Matt Martin, RCU’s senior vice president of community and government relations. “We provide the Bite of Reality program to help bridge that gap by giving students a taste of the financial realities adults face every day.”
In Bite of Reality, each student gets a fictional identity, including occupation, salary, family, credit cards, and a checking account. They then visit stations, such as the “Groceries and Dining” table where they pay for food. There are also housing and transportation stations, clothing and entertainment, child care, and more. As they move through the process, the teens must decide on the expenditures they can afford with their very finite budget. It’s eye opening to learn they can’t always cover both necessities and desires.
“Bite of Reality is one of my favorite community events,” said Wrynn Valentine, RCU’s financial wellness advocate. “Students get an interactive experience that’s entertaining, enlightening, and often surprising. Imagine being a 16-year-old boy having to budget for diapers. It offers a glimpse into the kind of financial decisions they’ll have to make as adults—something they can ponder as they move into the working phase of their lives. RCU loves helping prepare teens for a successful financial future.”
One of the coordinating teachers reported the students had recently undergone a budgeting lesson as part of the classroom curriculum and that Bite of Reality was a particularly fun way to wrap that up and put what they had learned to the test.
Nineteen volunteers, in all, helped make this Bite of Reality happen—13 San Rafael High School volunteers (parents, past volunteers, and community), four Redwood Credit Union employees, and two RCU community volunteers.
For more information or to schedule a Bite of Reality at your school or youth organization, contact RCU at (707) 576-5259 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Redwood Credit Union
Founded in 1950, Redwood Credit Union is a full-service financial institution providing personal and business banking to consumers and businesses in the North Bay and San Francisco. RCU offers complete financial services, including checking and savings accounts, auto and home loans, credit cards, online and mobile banking, business services, commercial and SBA lending, investment and financial planning services, and more. The Credit Union also offers insurance and discount auto sales through their wholly-owned subsidiary. RCU currently has over $4 billion in assets and serves over 300,000 Members with full-service branches from San Francisco to Ukiah, more than 30,000 fee-free network ATMs nationwide and convenient, free online and mobile banking. They can be followed on Facebook at facebook.com/redwoodcu and on Twitter at @Redwoodcu. For more information, please call 1 (800) 479-7928 or visit www.redwoodcu.org.