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Altura Credit Union Hosts Financial Education "Bite of Reality" Program at Local School

(Hemet, Calif.) Feb. 15, 2018 – Ninth-graders from West Valley High School in Hemet recently received a “bite of reality” when they attended an interactive financial education simulation designed to teach them how to manage money on campus, hosted by Riverside-based Altura Credit Union.

The program is offered by the Richard Myles Johnson (RMJ) Foundation, the state foundation for credit unions in California and Nevada, and it aims to teach young people the basics of finance by having them take a “real world” test drive, complete with a job, money, and the freedom to make their own financial decisions.

Via the Bite of Reality app, each of the roughly 150 students in attendance received a persona complete with occupation, salary, spouse and family, student loan debt, credit card debt, and medical insurance payments. With the app also providing them with a personalized monthly income, each student went “shopping” for items such as housing, transportation, food, clothing, household necessities, and daycare.

Throughout the event, the students dealt with pushy salespeople portrayed by volunteers from Altura CU and the local Chamber of Commerce. And when some overspent, those staffing the "credit union" station provided much-needed assistance.

Mya Jones, 14, found the experience very helpful. “It helps you for the future. I learned how to spend money more wisely,” she said.

Her friend Ellexus Griffin, 14, smiling admitted: “I am expensive,” adding she had bought herself a luxury car and designer clothes. She ended up overspending and at the “credit union” table seeking help. She ended up learning one valuable lesson: “I can look nice but not expensive.”

Fourteen-year-olds Charlie Ramirez, Josue Jimenez, and Luis Trejo also found the event just as eye-opening. “Now I understand what my parents go through,” Charlie said.

For Josue, the event helped him realize how easy it is “to waste a lot of money quickly.” Luis’ biggest eye-opening moment: “Housing is expensive,” he said.

This taste of reality is exactly what RMJ Foundation Executive Director Tena Lozano hopes students would take away from the Bite of Reality events. “It’s great to provide a no-risk environment like this so that when these young people face these same situations later in life, they can make good financial choices,” she said.

PHOTO CAPTION: 

Ninth grade students from West Valley High School in Hemet, from left, Ellexus Griffin, Mya Jones and Yara Trujillo, talk about the importance of looking good with Patrice Rogers from Altura Credit Union who is portraying a “merchant” during Bite of Reality, a financial reality program. Altura hosted Bite of Reality, which is offered by the Richard Myles Johnson Foundation, the state foundation for credit unions in California and Nevada. It is designed to teach the basics of money management.

The Richard Myles Johnson Foundation, founded in 1958, is dedicated to supporting credit union efforts in spreading the financial literacy message to young people. The Foundation offers the Bite of Reality program, a hands-on simulation program that teaches the basics of finances to teenagers. It is funded through donations from credit unions, League chapters, corporations providing credit union services, and individuals. More information about the Foundation is available at its website www.rmjfoundation.org.

Based in the Inland Empire for 60 years, Altura Credit Union serves more than 121,000 Members, has $1.279 billion in total assets and operates 13 branch offices in Riverside County.  Membership is open to anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in Riverside and San Diego counties; selected cities in San Bernardino and Orange counties; as well as U.S. Military, U.S. Government and Civilian employees working at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County; and retirees of the United States Armed Forces. For more information on Altura, visit www.alturacu.com, or call 1-888-883-7228

 


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