Community State Bank teams up with local high school and area businesses to offer a unique interactive financial program for Juniors.

April 22, 2013

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April is quite a month for Community State Bank and we couldn't be more excited about it! As part of Community Banking Month and Financial Literacy for Youth Month, we are also planning an exciting interactive financial program for our local high school students!

Unlike traditional financial programs, this program is designed to change the way students see their future by placing them in real-life situations, making everyday decisions and showing them how those decisions impact their personal financial position.

Here's how it works. On Tuesday, April 30th from 7:30am – 12:00pm, Union Grove High School will be sending the entire Junior class through a financial education program called, "My LIFE" (Local Interactive Financial Education). 

The Juniors have each chosen a career path that will determine their starting salary. From there, each student is randomly assigned a "life" – single, married or divorced, kids or not, a credit score, student debt – all potentially real-life situations. Once their "life" is assigned, they are directed to the gym, where many tables and volunteers will be ready to guide them through essential life decisions about how to pay for housing, insurance, utilities, food and childcare.
Volunteers and local businesses from the community will guide students through a sample month of their adult life, with the most significant financial choices being guided by experts in their respective fields. For example, a car salesperson will be "selling" the student a vehicle; based on the size of their family and the size of their budget; a child care provider will be informing students about the cost of day care; an insurance salesperson will be helping the students understand insurance, how it works, and how much it costs.

MyLife is:

  • A partnership between Union Grove High School, educators and the local business community that provides students an opportunity to connect with community business representatives in an authentic situation.
  • An event that gives students a chance to test their budgeting skills using actual prices for products and services in a safe environment.
  • An event that provides insight into career selection and how that career selection will play a part in a student's financial future.
  • A cumulative, hands-on experience for students to test their ability as a consumer in our sales-focused economy.
  • A "cool project" that makes classroom learning relevant to students!

The idea of the MyLife program was initially brought to the high school last Fall by Neil Buchanan, VP of Commercial Banking and Jeff Nielsen, AVP Marketing. Buchanan had been involved in a similar program in the Kenosha area in the past. Together they teamed up with Dave Pettit, Wendy Coury and Tiffany VandeBogert from Union Grove High School and, with the support of the administration, the planning process began. With many hours spent customizing the program, recruiting businesses, and promoting the event, we are now ready to bring it to the students. 

"We are very excited to be working with the high school and area business leaders to offer this type of program to our young adults," said Buchanan. "The program's unique, real-life approach will definitely challenge the students to take a hard look at their financial future and life decisions."
This unique program is designed to benefit everyone involved. We encourage parents, business leaders and the community to stop by and see this wonderfully engaging program in action.