Mass Bay Celebrates Financial Literacy Month

Published on 04/29/2013. Related articles: community

Mass Bay Credit Union Celebrates Financial Literacy Month in April

Governor Deval Patrick proclaimed April to be Youth Financial Literacy Month and Massachusetts credit unions, including Mass Bay Credit Union, celebrated by supporting the Boston Reality Fair, Financial Tools for Life, which was held at Roxbury Community College’s Reggie Lewis Center in Boston on April 11.

The day began with a welcome by Undersecretary of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation Barbara Anthony. She greeted the participants, over 180 young people from four Boston high schools -- East Boston High School, English High School, Madison Park Technical Vocational High School, and John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics & Science.

Mass Bay Credit Union was among three credit unions who organized and sponsored this event. In addition, Mass Bay played an active role in the development of the event and had employees on site volunteering to help the students get the most out of the event. The Reality Fair itself is a group event in which the students are given a fictitious “financial life” (a career and an income) and they must determine how they are going to budget for needs and wants. They need to allocate funds for rent, utilities, insurance, etc. and then they must decide what they can afford to spend on entertainment and transportation. Tough choices have to be made. What kind of car can they afford? Do they have to live with a roommate? Can they afford a pet or vacations? It was the culmination of a three-session classroom learning experience that addressed topics like borrowing, savings, fraud prevention, and budgeting. Volunteers taught in the classroom and were on hand to help the students manage savings and borrowing needs. Additional volunteers from various non-profit groups, retailers, and service providers were on hand to help the students make choices. As in life, those who successfully managed their finances during the course of the Reality Fair had the chance to achieve rewards.

The day concluded with a play called Money Matters which was conducted by Youth Underground, a resident teen ensemble based at the Central Square Theater in Cambridge. John Thomas, CEO of Mass Bay Credit Union, spoke about the value that the entire community derives from financial education. “We’re very proud of our involvement in the Boston Reality Fair” he said. “The Fair strengthens our community by giving these high school students essential ‘real world’ financial tools to prepare them to be more capable and financially responsible adults.”