Real World Summit

Community Challenge/Problem

Typical at-risk youth enrolled in the Workforce Investment Act Program have no developed skills in financial literacy, whether from traditional school systems or from their family. Many of these youth struggle with life-challenging situations and are not aware of the variety of options that are available to them to help with financial struggles. We believe that by exposing youth to available options and educating them on how to make smart financial choices, youth will make better decisions.

Board Solution/Innovation

The Lumber River Youth Council, a subcommittee of the LRWDB, holds an annual Real World Summit: a one-day simulation of the real world. The day begins with workshops in four key areas: insurance, banking, budgeting and credit counseling. The workshops are presented by volunteer professionals from the community who provide a basic overview of each area and emphasize the importance of each. Following the workshops, youth enter into the Real World simulation with a packet that includes their education level and salary. They are challenged to take their fixed income and develop a budget based on every day expenses including food, utilities, rent, clothing, etc., while also incorporating situational crises such medical emergencies and accidents into their plans.

Outcomes & Results

Since their spending and expenses could not exceed their income, the youth found themselves making tough, but realistic decisions. Youth gained a better understanding of the life skills needed to make daily responsible, financial decisions necessary for adult life.

“This program has proven to make a powerful impact on our youth,” says WIA Director Blondell McIntyre. “For some youth, it will mean finishing high school. For others, this event may prompt furthering their education at a community college or university.” The simulation is just one example of the ways that the Youth Council seeks to enable young people to become successful in their education, workplaces and communities.