A dozen accounting undergrads traveled to Hartford last month to help teach Buckeley High School students about smart financial decisions.
The Financial Reality Fair, sponsored by Connecticut’s Credit Unions, gave teens a hands-on experience in using a budget sheet to live within their expected monthly salary, while paying for housing, utilities, transportation, clothing and food, while saving some of their income.
After visiting all the booths, students have to balance their budget and sit down with a financial counselor to review their standing. The fair is designed to acquaint students with some of the financial challenges they will face when they start life on their own.
“As volunteers, we staffed the individual tables, such as clothing, food, cell phones, night life, housing and transportation,” said Leanne Adams, accounting instructor-in-residence, who was accompanied by her daughter Jenna Bruder. “We described the students’ options in each category. For example, in the housing category, they could choose to rent an apartment on their own, live with their parents or even split an apartment with a friend. Our job was to inform them of their choices and we were encouraged to tempt them into the more expensive options!”
“This was a great hands-on learning experience for our students as well as those at Bulkeley. Our students strengthened their communication skills while gaining an appreciation of how valuable their accounting and mentoring skills can be to the community,” Adams said. “The Bulkeley students learned that every financial decision has a consequence in the real world.
UConn student Jami Khan helped out at the transportation booth. He said that many students had to loop back to his table after meeting with the financial counselors. Their dreams of buying a fancy car would have to wait until their budget allowed it.”
Students participated as volunteers and did not receive any course credit. This is the first time UConn has participated in the fair.
The other 11 UConn participants included: Jaffer Sheikh, Lu Hong, Rui Wen, Xinyan Yao, Megan Boos, Sara Tiffany, Jingyi Wei, Brian Bougoulas, Bridget Patterson, Francis Stino and Bret Olson.