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Sunday, March 24 , 2019, 7:44 pm | Fair 57º

 
 
 
 

Financial Lesson Gives Cabrillo High Students ‘Bite of Reality’ in Lompoc

CoastHill Credit Union volunteers help students learn about the art of managing money

Cabrillo High School students use their phone apps to participate in the “Bite of Reality” financial lesson on Monday morning.
Cabrillo High School students use their phone apps to participate in the “Bite of Reality” financial lesson on Monday morning.  (Richard Myles Johnson Foundation photo)

Dozens of Cabrillo High School students received a Monday morning “Bite of Reality” when it comes to managing money.

The program, hosted by CoastHills Credit Union, let Lompoc learn about handling money through a hands-on simulation that delivered a taste of financial reality.

“Basically, we want to teach kids about managing money in a fun and interactive way,” said Tena Lozano, executive director of the Richard Myles Johnson Foundation. “So it’s a little less dry than lecturing them on how to do a budget. We actually make them live a budget. 

“It’s a little bit more impactful that way because we actually make them run out of money,” she added. “They get to understand what that feels like. … It’s very eye-opening for the kids and you can actually see light bulbs go off as they go through the process.”

The foundation provided the materials for the program which had 85 students participating Monday, with another round of lessons planned Wednesday at Maple High School.

The program used an app on students’ cell phones and tablets, recognizing their love for technology and the reality that they likely won’t write checks but instead use online banking, business teacher Chelle Townes said. 

CoastHills representative Linda Van Dyke said volunteers acting as car sales people and real estate agents were urged to “sell, sell, sell,” to help the youths learn about living within their financial means. The program wants students to run out of fake money so they learn the feeling of overspending while still needing to pay bills, she added.

“This is what real life is like,” she said. “This is what you have to learn.”

Makenzie Hoiseth, a senior, found the lesson valuable. 

“I learned that everything’s expensive in life and you have to spend a lot of money,” she said.

Being wise with your money means being happy with a used car she already owns, Hoiseth said, adding she plans to become a dental assistant and learned she may have to reconsider the house size she wanted.

Myka Gomez, also a senior, said the lesson showed that children are expensive.

“I also learned that you have to make sure everything is organized because if you’re not organized you’re not going to spend money very well,” she said.

When the mock sales people tried to pressure her to spend more than she could afford, her friend Hoiseth helped avoid overspending, Gomez said.

“You have to make sure to tell them no. If you don’t want it then you shouldn’t get it, especially if you can’t afford it,” Gomez added. “Don’t let them persuade you into something you can’t afford because they don’t care about your financial issues.” 

The Richard Myles Johnson Foundation supports youth financial education and continuing education for credit union leaders. The signature program, Bite of Reality, will be delivered to approximately 15,000 students across California and Nevada this year, Lozano said.

CoastHills, which has more than 63,000 members in Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey and Santa Cruz counties, has 11 branches and a full service call center. 

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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