In December of 2013, Family Connection helped the GACHE committee put on a Reality Store. The freshman class participated in this event, which taught about budgeting and gave the teens the opportunity to experience the costs of living in today’s economic turbulence.
The teens each chose a career, a marital status and a number of children and then were given a starting salary. If they chose a career that required a college education, they were also required to deduct student loans from their monthly budget. They then worked their way through a number of booths, including housing, groceries, utilities, child care, insurance and more. They were also required to stop at the Unexpected Events booth and had to randomly choose a number. They were then given an unexpected event, which ranged from winning the lottery (only one could win), to receiving an inheritance, to getting a DUI and having to visit the legal and insurance booths.
Family Connection staff and mentors provided volunteers to help man the various booths. Many of the teens had an eye opening experience as to the cost of living in the real world. Several were even heard to say they were going to go home and thank their parents for the sacrifices they had to have made for them to be where they were now.
This event was such a success we participated in it again in 2014 with a new group of freshman students.