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American Heritage brings financial fairs to MaST

American Heritage Credit Union hosted two reality fairs at MaST Community Charter Schools I and II to help prepare more than 350 students for financial challenges and expectations post-graduation.

Students who took part in the reality fair began the event by choosing a career, which assigned them a respective salary and student loan amount. This selection would dictate their budget and lifestyle choices throughout the event.

Students visited booths that each focused on specific aspects of life, including transportation, housing, groceries, cell phone plans, entertainment and even additional income. Volunteers at each booth helped to guide and teach students about how each selection they made would impact their overall financial situation.

Before completing their monthly budgets, students had to spin the “Wheel of Reality.” The spaces on the wheel included a variety of unexpected life events including auto repairs, lost wallet, work bonus and tax refunds to emphasize life is full of surprises, both negative and positive. The goal of the exercise was to manage a realistic post-graduate budget while still having money left over.

“Our students gave us overwhelmingly positive feedback about how valuable and fun the Reality Fair experience was,” said Katie MacConnell, counselor at MaST. “They got to see firsthand how difficult ‘adulting’ can be at times. I’m certain this will be something they will remember for years to come, especially when thinking about their future careers and life plans.”

“We are continuously looking for new and innovative ways to bring financial education and resources to the youth in our communities,” said Bruce K. Foulke, American Heritage’s president and CEO. “Financial exercises, like the Reality Fair, bring real-word experiences and lessons in money management directly to high school students. Thank you to the MaST Charter faculty and students as well as our credit union volunteers who took part in this fun and enlightening program.” ••

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