REALITY FAIR –  It was an opportunity to volunteer at a Reality Fair event at the Ravenswood Elementary School in Chicago.  At the Fair, 7th and 8th grade students come to the gym (which we’ve set up with a circle of tables).  They’ve researched a career, the education required, and the monthly gross salary.  They go from station to station, finding out how many children they have, what their spouses’ earning are, what their taxes and school loans are, and then making different choices: for transportation. bus or  car; for pets, bird or dog.  If they run out of money, they receive “counseling” and try again.

Q-tips say: 2018 This year was really fun. We handled the “grim reaper” section. Roll the balls, like they do in bingo, and whatever # comes up you read what you owe/or what you add to your account. Ex.  If you got ” you have to pay for your outfit for a good friend’s wedding $300.00 or your Aunt Edna passed on and left you $500.00 to add to your account and then move on to the next station. If you run out of money, you have to see a counselor.

Q-Tips say: 2017 Was a real eye opener, since we have not been around 7th & 8th graders in ages. It was interesting because we also had some high school students, mostly in their 4th year, sat along with the volunteers to assist with the different stations. A counselor, a volunteer, who sat at the counseling table, mentioned after the fair that this year he had more students came back twice for counselling than previous years. Mrs. Q says: One young man came by and said he plans to be “Amish” therefor he has no need to fill out our section. Mind you my station was: 1. how much your expenses necessary to spend for utilities if you are in a house or rent or a condo. 2. Cellular expenses depending is you choose the family plan or single plan. 3. Internet or choose a land line.  I kindly mentioned that he has not a realistic appraisal because he still has expenses that he needs for living in a home/rent/condo, even if he is going to live like the Amish. Many others had a more realistic appraisal of their life goals and what needs to exist.  Mrs. Q’s best: A young man came by and found how much it was to get the “family plan” for the cellular plan.  He said, “WOW, these kids are killing me with these expenses.” I had to laugh and perhaps the light went on for him how expensive it might be to raise a family.

Overall, it was a fun experience for the Q’s. I’m not sure some of the students walked away with thought provoking reality assessments of real life. One hopes they did.