Every day, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area work hard to ensure all young people are enabled and inspired to reach their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens. And sometimes, that means giving our young people a look into the future. During the Charles Schwab Annual Volunteer Week, Club Kids at Gus Garcia Young Men’s Leadership Academy experienced the Charles Schwab Reality Store.
During the visit, all 25 Club members were assigned a career, a spouse and children. Dependent on their career assignment, youth members were also allotted a salary and given a bank account. The program, according to the Charles Schwab Reality Store, is meant to communicate how an individual’s financial and career choices can have a dramatic impact on his or her future. Cyndi Hernandez, Club Director at Gus Garcia, said the event gave members an inside look to what it was like to be an adult.
After everyone was given their assignments and financial allotments, the club members were encouraged to visit the store’s stations that included choosing a house, shopping for groceries, investing for retirement, and selecting a child care service. One station included a few fun spending options as well, like going to see a movie or adopting a pet.
Hernandez says the event was an eye opener for the Club members. “[The experience] was enlightening for them because the jobs [youth] were given, and the money they got, seemed like a lot until they had to pay the bills.” Hernandez says it was funny to see the event unfold from her perspective.
The Reality Store program was the final piece of the Boys & Girls Clubs Money Matters program, where Club members attended weekly classes in the Fall relating to personal finances, like budgeting. This was the first time the program was implemented in a BGCAA school.