These students attended “Reality Town,” sponsored by the Meece Family Resource/Youth Service Center (FRYSC) in collaboration with community business and Somerset High School volunteers.
Meece students were given jobs, salaries, children and life situations where they had to manage finances and evaluate choices in order to successfully complete the program. Their first stop was the “Uncle Sam” booth, where they paid taxes and learned the meaning of “net income.” Next, students went to the bank to set up their checking and saving accounts. Students were then required to find housing, transportation and insurance. Other booths included options for food, clothing, child care, medical/dental, communications, health and grooming, furniture, charitable giving, and entertainment. As money began to dwindle in their accounts, students were faced with a taste of hard reality of not having enough to meet their monthly expenses. When students ran out of money, they had to make hard choices concerning their family’s basic needs which resulted in cutting out excessive expenses.
Reality Town was a practical exercise in managing money and gave students more realistic insight into what it takes to live independently and to support a family. Meece Middle School’s Reality Town was a valuable and successful experience for our students. We would like to offer a special thanks to our community partners; without them this program would not have been possible.