"Reality Store" Promotes Financial Literacy at Jefferson Middle School

September 15, 2023

MIDLAND - Hundreds of eighth graders at Midland's Jefferson Middle School participated in an experiential "Reality Store" on Sept. 15, made possible in part by Business Development Specialist Ryan Carter. 


ConneCTEd, the "Career and Technical Education" arm of the Midland County Education Service Agency, delivers the Reality Store program to middle and high schools across the region. According to ConneCTEd, the experience sees students attend a station-style game of real life in their gymnasium. They select a vocation, are paid wages, and navigate expenses for a month of "adult life." 


"I have been volunteering at Reality Stores for over 10 years, speaking to young people about the importance of saving," Carter said. "I continue to do so because of the positive impact that these events have on our youth." 


Choices comprise the curriculum's foundation, along with the rewards and consequences that may result from them. Youth explore their career interests, experiencing the requisite educational requirements and realistic compensation. The program is delivered exclusively for eighth and tenth graders in the Midland Intermediate School District. 


As a representative of the credit union, Carter explained best practices for wealth management to the students. Along with best practices for budgeting, Carter stressed the importance of a planned and deliberate strategy for saving. 


"ConneCTEd Reality Stores are a great way for young people, specifically eighth and eleventh graders, to gain an understanding of what it is like living on your own," Carter said. 


Support for the program reflects our credit union's commitment to twin pillars of our community giving campaign: youth and education. An overwhelming majority of high school graduates polled say their education did not prepare them to manage their money in adulthood. For this reason, fostering financial literacy in young people is a priority for our credit union, as well as a long-term investment.