Riders Get Real

ST. MARYS — Local students received a look into the “real world” as part of an annual event at their school.

Eighth-grade students at St. Marys Middle School participated in the OSU Extension’s “Real Money Real World” activity in their gymnasium on Friday.

“We are in all of the schools in Auglaize County except one,” county director and 4-H educator Beth Miller said, noting the presentation is also done at other schools.

During “Real Money Real World,” students travel to different stations to experience different parts of their future lives.

“The goal behind it is financial management,” Miller said. “It starts with a career. As the kids come to us, they have a career for themselves, and they get the idea of what it’s going to mean in their lives and how it will affect their ability to make choices in their lives.”

The program also factors in a family.

“They are also given an amount of kids, and if they have an idea of how many kids they want to have, they learn how expensive kids actually are,” Miller said.

She noted one student she spoke with on Friday who had one child in the simulation, but there are eight children in her real-life home.

“I told her to take the amount she had to spend on her child and multiply it by eight,” Miller said.

That realization, she said, may give the students and inside into what their parents encounter every day.

“Hopefully they get the realization that sometimes when Mom and Dad say ‘no,’ and they get mad, this helps them know why maybe they said ‘no,’” Miller said. “Hopefully they have a better understanding of it all.”

Alyssa Finley, a student in Kevin Jacobs’ class, said the family part was what she learned about the most during “Real Money Real World.”

“It takes a lot (of money) to have a few kids and a family,” she said.

On Friday, the eighth-grade students visited 15 stations, including spots such as housing, utilities, transportation, insurance, food, clothing, credit, child care, communications, entertainment and chance.

“Chance is for life’s unexpected things,” Miller said. “Maybe they had to spend $25 on a birthday present or they got a flat tire and had to pay $50 or maybe they had a family inheritance and gained money.”

She noted the students also had a visit to a financial adviser to help them make decisions about their budget.

At the end, the students’ papers were checked to see how much money they ended up with, and each student went home with a pencil and a candy bar.