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DATCU Holds Reality Fair at Vocational Ed Campus
Tuesday, October 28, 2014 6:50 AM

Credit unions strive to help their members find personal financial success, but many youths, educators, and parents need better guidance to help them gain a financially healthy life. Enter the Cornerstone REAL Solutions CU 4 Reality Financial Education Fair, an interactive roadmap that helps individuals understand the budgeting challenges and consequences of the financial choices they make.

DATCU Credit Union recently offered students a Reality Fair at the Denton ISD LaGrone Advanced Technology Complex in Denton. It was DATCU's first time to offer it to high school students, and they had a great turnout of 60 kids.

How the Reality Fair works:  employees and staff are assigned different jobs, such as insurance agents, car dealers, and loan collectors. Students are expected to create personal budgets for food, clothes, utilities, insurance, and more.

DATCU staff volunteers were excited to participate in the Reality Fair. Some said they loved "watching the students understand" and "seeing the light bulbs go on." One volunteer said, "I believe it was an eye opener for some and really made the students think about how they're going to pay for all of that stuff." Another volunteer said the kids seemed to have a good time with the initial dream, and then laughed when they had to renegotiate and adjust their choices.

DATCU's volunteer insurance agent explained about the need to have insurance. "A couple [of participants] had a limited idea, but most really didn't understand why it was so important. Being able to explain why and informing them of the purpose of insurance was such a great thing." He went on to say that encouraging students to make good choices and grades can change the amount their parents will pay. "It opened up their eyes when they saw that their actions have effects."

Some fun comments overheard from students:

  • What do you mean do dishes by hand?
  • I don't need cable, but Netflix is a MUST!
  • I don't need cable or internet; I have my iPhone.
  • I want the package with the most channels! Give me the works.

DATCU Credit Union Vice President of Business Development Pat Sherman said, "I feel like we've just glimpsed the tip of a very valuable iceberg. Our business development group has lots of ideas about how to use the Reality Fair to help a variety of different member groups."

The CU 4 Reality Fairs are part of Cornerstone's REAL Solutions initiative. They are a great way for credit unions to reach out to their local communities, teach the importance of financial literacy, and strengthen member relations.

REAL Solutions Director Paula Upchurch said, "It was a pleasure working with the staff and employees of DATCU, sharing in their dedication to providing financial education to their community schools. It is so important to teach our youth how to budget and learn the fundamentals of financial literacy, and it is our wish that the students take the learning experience of a reality fair with them when they go off to college or to their new professions."

Want to learn more about the CU 4 Reality Fairs? Contact Paula Upchurch at pupchurch@cornerstoneleague.coop or (800) 442-5762, Ext. 6822, or (832) 407-7965.


The CU 4 Reality Financial Education Fair was developed the Financial Literacy Education Committee of America’s Credit Union Museum in conjunction with the New Hampshire Credit Union League. REAL Solutions stands for Relevant, Effective, Asset-building, Loyalty-producing solutions. To learn more about REAL Solutions, please visit www.cornerstoneleague.coop/real_solutions.html.