Students from Kaiserslautern Middle School attended the CU 4 Reality Fair April 30 at the school’s gymnasium on Vogelweh to learn how to handle finances responsibly.
Hosted by Service Credit Union and Department of Defense Dependent Schools – Europe, the fair taught students how to manage finances by budgeting and calculating earnings and expenses in a simulated real-world environment.
“I want them to know what real life is about and I want them to know they can pick a profession, but then they have to be able to live within their means,” said Peggy Hess, KMS math teacher. “There are expenses they have to consider and deal with. So, I really want them to learn to budget – to know how much money they have and how much they can save.”
More than 150 students participated in the event, where they visited several booths that represented real-life expenses. At the booths, they budgeted those expenses based on monthly incomes.
“Students are coming in with a career they have chosen themselves and using that income to do a budget,” said Frances Cartwright-Graeber, Service Credit Union manager. “They have to go to housing, utilities, transportation, insurance, food and clothing to figure out what they can afford with that career.”
Students were able to walk around the fair and learn first-hand how take care of their money.
“You learn to pay your bills and save money,” said Raven Camarce, daughter of Tech. Sgt. Romeo Camarce, NATO Headquarters, who chose to be an art teacher for the day.
Students also learned to prepare for future possibilities of money loss or gain.
“They’re teaching us for the future,” said a seventh grader from KMS. “Things like what will happen in a car crash or if we get scholarships.”
The fair is part of the CU 4 Reality Program, a program that includes in-class curriculum throughout the year and culminates with the fair.
The program was developed by the Financial Literacy Education Committee of America’s Credit Union Museum and the New Hampshire Credit Union League.