Credit Unions Team Up for Teen Financial Education
In March, HarborLight Credit Union, Muskegon Co-Op Federal Credit Union and Muskegon Area Career Tech Center (MACTC) partnered together to have four back-to-back Financial Reality Fairs at MACTC for all of their high school seniors.
With a grant from the Michigan Credit Union Foundation and additional volunteers from Family Financial Credit Union, Service 1 Federal Credit Union, Community Choice Credit Union and Lake Michigan Credit Union, more than 300 students proceeded through 12 “life stations” to make financial choices and then saw how those decisions affected living on a monthly budget. Prior to the event, the students chose from 40 various careers with specific salaries attached. Budget sheets were created from that information and a credit score was randomly assigned to each student. The students, as well as nearly 50 volunteers, overwhelmingly shared positive feedback about the event.
Sheryl Hogle, Director of Financial Education at HarborLight Credit Union, and Lacey Vanderlaan from Muskegon CO-OP Federal Credit Union, co-coordinated the fairs, along with Bethanie Swier, the MACTC counselor. Although Hogle & Vanderlaan have coordinated and participated in previous Financial Reality Fairs, this was a first for Swier, who immediately saw the value of the event.
At the end of the event, a short evaluation was handed to each student to complete to receive a giveaway. When asked if this event will change the way they save and spend money, one student shared, “Yes, because before I came here I was so blinded by the idea of money. But now, this has totally changed my perspective.” Another student stated, “Yes, because I realized that having a plan with your money is important.”
When students were questioned about their biggest takeaway many replied, “Expenses sure add up quickly.” Students felt this experience was very beneficial and recommended that all high school students participate in a Financial Reality Fair.
“This event took a lot of planning and behind the scenes work, however, it was totally worth it to see the impact that it had. It was great to have conversations with the students and see a glimpse of reality play out for them,” Hogle added.Go to main navigation