On Oct. 14, 3,150 North Bay high school students across 15 schools attended Redwood Credit Union’s Bite of Reality financial education program. In Marin County, 793 students at four schools, Novato High School, San Marin High School, Tomales High School and San Rafael High School, participated in the program that was developed by the Richard Myles Johnson Foundation. Pictured (above, left to right) are state Sen. Mike McGuire, U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman, Marin County Superintendent of Schools Mary Jane Burke and Redwood Credit Union President and CEO Brett Martinez at the San Rafael High School gym, preparing to welcome the students.
In Bite of Reality, students receive a fictional occupation, salary, spouse and family, student loan debt, credit card debt and medical insurance payments. They then visit various table-top stations to “purchase” housing, transportation, food, clothing, household necessities, day care and other essentials. The exercise also includes a credit union station to help with their financial needs if they overspend. Huffman (pictured above top) talks with Redwood Credit Union employees as they prepare to help students balance their budgets. Martinez (above bottom, center) and Redwood Credit Union employees prepare to advise students about which cars they can afford.
Martinez said “We believe money management is an essential life skill for young people to learn. However, because it’s not a graduation requirement, financial education differs greatly between schools. The Bite of Reality program helps fill in gaps, giving teens an eye-opening introduction to the everyday money challenges they will face as adults and to navigating those financial decisions wisely.” Students in the San Rafael High School gym (above top) got down to the business of budgeting. Pictured (above bottom) is longtime San Rafael High School teacher Bobbi Brett, who has been instrumental in helping coordinate these events at her school for the past six years, and Redwood Credit Union’s Financial Wellness Advocate and Bite of Reality Facilitator Wrynn Valentine.