Mad City Money program seeks to teach students fiscal reality

RANTOUL — J.W. Eater Junior High School students will get an education in the wise use of money.

The Mad City Money program will be held from 1-3 p.m. Friday, April 28, at the school, sponsored by Rantoul’s two credit unions — Community Plus Federal Credit Union and Credit Union 1 — through The John L. Kelly Chapter of Credit Unions.

Wednesday Medlen, membership officer at Community Plus, said the reality fair simulates real life. Each student will be assigned an occupation and salary.

Accompanying that will be student loan debt, loan debt owed, credit card owed and cost of medical insurance.

There will be nine merchant booths manned by volunteers.

“Each booth represents a purchase they need to make,” Medlen said. “The big wheels are car purchase (and) housing. They have to consciously make good choices.

“As a vendor ... to these students, you’re trying to sell to them.”

Medlen said organizers hope to get a car dealership representative to work in a booth and try to convince students to “buy the most expensive purchase. It’s the student’s choice.”

She said 30-35 volunteers are needed to help with the event.

“Last year we had nothing but community members,” Medlen said. “We had the village of Rantoul, mayor, police department and other members of town like Rotary, Exchange Club; Lincoln’s Challenge helped (and) the Future Business Leaders of America.”

The goal of the reality fair is to help students learn to make good financial choices now so that once they graduate, they will be better equipped for economic reality.

Lucie Gibbons, assistant call center manager of Credit Union 1, said the event is not labor intensive.

“It’s a lot of fun,” she said.

One student might have two children they need to sign up for day care services, and another has one child.

“One might think he has everything paid for and then the fickle finger of fate (hits),” Gibbons said. “Your car’s totaled. You have to now get another car, and you’re upside down in your payment. Then they have to rework their budget. It’s kind of a reality check for them.”

Medlen said when it comes to transportation, some students say they will buy a car while their spouse can take the bus.

People willing to volunteer for the event should contact Chelsea Anderson at 217-356-9721 or canderson@cicu.com by April 7. Volunteers do not have to have prior knowledge to volunteer.

dhinton@rantoulpress.com


 

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