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Program exposes students to real life financial choices

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January 23, 2012

HAMILTON DEANERY — John XXIII Catholic School in Middletown is offering a program for eighth-grade students called “Real Money, Real World.” It is offered through the OSU Extension with support from the Ohio 4-H Foundation and calls for parent and community involvement, while providing an active and hands-on experience for the students. The program allows students to make lifestyle and budget choices similar to those they will make as adults.

John XXIII students and parent volunteers enjoyed the “Real Money, Real World” simulation. (Courtesy Photo)

It involves three parts: a pre-simulation preparation; a hands-on budget management and decision-making simulation; and a post-session evaluation of choices made. Before the simulation begins, teachers prepare the students using the following four lessons: “How Occupation Affects Income;” “Deductions —What You See Is Not What You Get;” “How to Use Checking and Savings Accounts;” and “Making Choices — Preparing for the Simulation.”


The students are assigned an occupation and then receive a monthly salary for that particular job, along with a savings and checking account register. After subtracting the savings, taxes and health insurance amounts, the net salary figure is deposited into the checking account and recorded in the check register.


After these lessons are completed. the students then proceed through the Real Money, Real World simulation. This current school year’s simulation took place on Oct. 28 in the school gymnasium and was staffed by parents and volunteers from the local business community. Featured booths geared toward giving the students real life budgeting and spending experiences included housing, transportation, insurance, utilities, food, clothing, entertainment, child care, communications, contributions, credit, financial advice and Catholic school education. For this simulation, the school bookkeeper set up a booth offering the students the opportunity to choose John XXIII School for their children, enabling the eighth graders to realize how much their parents sacrifice for them to attend Catholic school.


“I don’t have enough money to buy food,” said one John XXIII eighth grader during the simulation.


Later that that day, another student told her mother that she wouldn’t ask for any other unnecessary items again. She saw that with her median paying job and one child she had a very hard time making ends meet.


The following website provides more information on the program, including a PowerPoint presentation and video:  www.ohio4h.org/workforceprep/rmrw.html.

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