RealityCheck for Youth — Helping Kids Learn About Finances

It seems many teens and 20-somethings wish they knew more about personal finances, taxes and credit — all those “adulting” topics that aren’t always taught in middle school and high school.

 “We find that young people who are in school after the implementation of a financial education requirement have higher relative credit scores and lower relative delinquency rates than those in control states.” – Divisions of Research & Statistics and Monetary Affairs Federal Reserve Board*

Elevations Credit Union saw this desire for youth financial education from educators and students, and in 2013, RealityCheck for Youth was created to help address this education gap. This program strives to help youth in our community to develop good financial management habits early in life. Today, Elevations is ranked the No. 1 provider of youth financial literacy in Colorado, according to the National Youth Involvement Board.

What does RealityCheck for Youth do?

RealityCheck for Youth is a comprehensive, free financial literacy program for students of all ages, offered in partnership with area school districts along the Front Range of Colorado. The program provides educators with classroom materials and professional support for teaching personal finance and career planning courses that are relevant and interactive. Topics covered include:

  • Saving
  • Budgeting
  • Credit
  • Car buying
  • Identity theft protection
  • Leadership
  • Economics
  • Career planning
  • Entrepreneurial skills

Who benefits from RealityCheck for Youth?

Over the past six years, Elevations employees have presented on these topics and more in over 500 K-12 classes, reaching over 15,000 students. We help these students obtain the financial knowledge that will help them make wise money decisions, be prepared for the workplace and gain skills to start their own business one day if they choose.

The school districts we currently work with to offer RealityCheck for Youth programs are the Thompson School District, Poudre School District, Boulder Valley School District and St. Vrain Valley School District.

Is RealityCheck for Youth approved by the state of Colorado?

Yes, all classes are tailored to teach financial literacy and meet Colorado graduation requirements. We work closely with education-centric organizations to provide interactive and engaging lessons for students from kindergarten through high school. The organizations we partner with to build the curriculum and provide opportunities are:

  • Junior Achievement (JA)
  • The JA Finance Park
  • The National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE)
  • Credit Union National Association
  • Jump$tart State Coalition
  • Longmont Chamber Education Committee

We strive to grow the RealityCheck for Youth program in area schools. We’re committed to providing educators with classroom materials and professional support for teaching personal finance and career planning courses that are relevant, effective and interactive. To find out more about RealityCheck for Youth, please contact Elevations Community Development Manager Michelle Sulek.

* Finance and Economics Discussion Series Divisions of Research & Statistics and Monetary Affairs Federal Reserve Board

Author Dennis Paul

Look to Dennis for stories from our communities and Elevations Foundation. Dennis has been involved with the credit union movement for 27 years and understands the importance of community and our role in helping our members thrive. Dennis currently oversees all of Elevations Credit Union’s business and community development initiatives as well as Elevations Foundation.

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