A small dose of reality

United Way of Eastern New Mexico (UWENM) held its Reality Check Day on Nov 12., an event that helps prepare local ninth graders on how to handle adult financial situations and teaches them to commit to graduation and building a successful career in adult life.

The simulation is designed to be a “month in the life” of adults making a living. It is split between two simulations, Mad City Money and the Community Action Poverty Simulation. In the Mad City Money portion, students are given jobs, a set amount of money and some are even given children to take care of. They are then tasked with making purchases, such as a vehicle, clothing, food and paying for child care, rent, utilities, and more.

The Community Action Poverty Simulation allows these students to experience just what poverty is like and living with a family on a very restricted means. Students also experience day-to-day life, such as doing household chores, going to work and maintaining a family.

Adult volunteers played the roles of various types of people, such as the land lord or the banker or the boss or the social worker.

At the end, students were asked how many were worse off and in debt at the end of the month. Those without quality educations and good jobs struggled to make ends meet.

“Encouraging and supporting youth success in life and school is a core focus for us. Reality Check Day serves as a wake-up call to ninth graders here in Roosevelt and Curry counties, to let them know the high school journey they are on really matters to the adult life they seek to create,” said Erinn Burch, executive director for UWENM.

The event is sponsored by local area banks and was brought to six high schools, serving over 900 Eastern New Mexico students, according to UWENM’s website. The event is reoccurring with the next dates being held again on Dec. 5 and Jan. 23 at the Clovis Freshman Academy and Jan. 14 at Portales High School

Those wanting to volunteer for Reality Check Day and other events, as well as other organizations, can visit www.volunteerenm.org.

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