Article and photos by Jennifer Sierra – Video by Jimmy Lee King
At Dayton High School in Dayton, Kentucky, students got a lesson in real life. The Reality Store is an event that the 4-H Club hosts every year for 8th graders and Juniors. The students come into the gymnasium and go to different booths. Student visit all booths and the booth attendants must fill out the student’s card with a financial credit or debit depending on their choices. The booths represent different financial aspects of real life. Some of the booths that were set up represented the “bank” (a representative from The Bank of Kentucky was there), child care, grocery store, transportation, utilities, communication, entertainment, etc.
The students were given a scenario for their lives once they entered the gymnasium. For instance, they were given a job and a number of children. One person might be a bus driver, hairstylist or an attorney for a career. They might have 1 child, 3 children or no children. Once they were given that information, they had to make lifestyle decisions. One student went to the “transportation” booth that Dennis Ashford, from Carthage Auto Sales, was working. This female student didn’t have much money so she looked at the automobile options and said, “I’m going to buy a bus pass.” At another table called “Crystal Ball”, where Dayton, Kentucky City Council Member Bill Burns was sitting, the students lined up to pick a card out of a bowl. The bowl had different good and bad fortune cards. One card might say, “You got a speeding ticket, pay a $75.00 fine”, or another card might say, “You got a tax refund of $250.00!”
There were many volunteers from the community that showed up to give their time to this program. Former City Council Member Penny Hurtt was manning the Entertainment Booth, where students got to chose if they wanted to go to the movies and dinner, go out to a play and dinner or stay home and eat pizza and rent a movie. Most of the kids chose to stay home because it was the least expensive. Janet Buckamneer, known as the lady on 6th Street that decorates her house for every holiday, was attending the grocery store. The choices there were generic/store brands, Name brands or organic/high-end groceries. While there were some politicians there, others from the community dropped by to help. Anthony Cadle, Main Street Manager from the City of Dayton, the Dayton Kentucky Police Department, Jane Hebel, Elmer Perry, Mike Lenz from Dayton Community News and many more, were there to give their time.
This program is designed to get kids thinking about their futures and what kind of lifestyle they can have based on their careers. It will help them prepare to budget and hopefully, think about the their parents’ finances the next time they ask for something from mom and dad.
Watch coverage of The Reality Store here: The Reality Store