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Reality U offers dose of real world
Third-annual event planned for Oct. 18
Pictured is a scene from the 2017 Reality U, sponsored by United Way of Central Kansas. This year’s installment takes place Oct. 18 at Great Bend Middle School.

United Way of Central Kansas is bringing Reality U back to Great Bend Middle School for the third year on Oct. 18. With the support of numerous sponsors and the Great Bend Middle School Booster Club, UWCK is setting out to teach this year’s eighth graders about personal finance in a fun and engaging way. 

“This event actively engages the students to help them understand the importance of education to their financial future,” UWCK Executive Director Gaila Demel said. “It also engages the community in supporting student learning and developing their understanding of the world of work.”

These eighth graders will imagine their lives as 26-year-olds and complete an online lifestyle survey, including questions about their occupation, marital status, use of credit cards, and their current grade point average. This information is entered into a trademarked software program that links their answers to a unique scenario for each student. 

These scenarios are distributed to the students the day of the event and include the students’ monthly income, credit card debt, student loan information, as well as marital and family status. They transfer this information into their student passports (similar to a checkbook register) and then make purchases at the 12 booths that represent services and/or products adults typically must purchase or consider each month. 

“Students have the opportunity to learn how their decisions impact their bottom line as they try to make decisions that won’t result in their check register falling below zero,” Demel said. Sometimes they must return a “purchase” and make a different decision.

Throughout the day, students also go into breakout sessions to dive deeper into how the choices that they make now will impact their future, Demel said. These sessions include: The Reality After High School, The Reality of High School, The Cost of Delinquency, Making a Plan, and Personal Finance. 

Numerous individuals and organizations assist with this program by speaking throughout the day to the students in the breakout sessions, and the Great Bend Middle School Booster Club will provide lunch for all the volunteers.

For more information, contact UWCK at, 1125 Williams in Great Bend or 620-792-2403.