Foundation Grantee Helps 200+ Teens Experience Life after Graduation through Financial Ed Exercise

NuVista Federal Credit Union in Montrose, Colo. recently held a “It’s Your Life” simulation day, dedicated to teaching local high school students about the financial obligations they will face after graduation.

Through the help of a Biz Kid$ Financial Education Grant from the National Credit Union Foundation (the Foundation), NuVista FCU provided teachers at the high school with Biz Kid$ videos and lesson plans to prepare the students prior to the “It’s Your Life” event. Biz Kid$ is the Emmy Award winning and credit union funded public television series that teaches kids about money management and entrepreneurship.

NuVista FCU held a Financial Reality Fair at Montrose High School as the focal point of their “It’s Your Life” event.  A Reality Fair is an interactive financial literacy tool for high school students that allows students the opportunity to experience some of the financial challenges they will face when they start life on their own.  Students are able to identify their career choice and starting salaries, then complete a budget sheet requiring them to live within their monthly salary. 

There were 213 students who attended the Reality Fair, all of them high school seniors who are close to graduating and entering the next phase of their lives.  The “It’s Your Life” event provides a great example of a community coming together to help improve the financial lives of the younger generation.  There were a total of 65 volunteers from local businesses, government organizations, Montrose High School, and NuVista Credit Union who helped make the event a success.

Click below to see a video of the “It’s Your Life” Reality Fair event.


After attending the Reality Fair, one of the students said, “I learned how to actually manage the money that I make, regardless of how much that may be.  I feel like this experience helped a lot of people gain financial confidence that is going to help.” 

“No one knew what to expect from the Reality Fair,” said Chelsea Rosty, VP of Marketing & Communications at NuVista Credit Union. “Our goal was for each student to walk away with at least one thing that will alter their financial decisions in the future. After the fair, I had two different students stop me on the street and tell me how much they learned and that they were grateful. For me, that's success."

NuVista added a few surprises to the Reality Fair to help make the experience as realistic as possible.  They had a local coffee shop set up a “café” in a corner of the gym where each student was given one coffee or treat.  Upon visiting, the students had to write down $25/month for coffee into their budget, which many were surprised by the cost of visiting a coffee shop regularly.

They also set off a police siren throughout the morning and called kids names to inform them of an accident they had been in, or that they were caught texting in driving, their house had a small fire, etc. This helped add in those unexpected emergencies that happen in life; one’s you may not always be prepared for or prepared to pay for financially. 

“If there is anyone out there who is considering doing a Reality Fair to help the adults of the future, I would definitely recommend it,” noted Rosty. “We have a responsibility to leave a community better than we found it, and this is just one way to go about doing it.”

Many of these students are about to graduate high school and go off into the world for the first time as adults.  They now have a foundation to help them become financially responsible adults.

A Foundation Grant at Work
This “Grant at Work” is part of a series that highlights Foundation grantees who made a positive impact in their community and empowered consumers to achieve financial freedom through credit unions. Grants are made possible by supporters of the Foundation.

Biz Kid$ - Teaching Kids about Money & Business
Biz Kid$ is a financial literacy initiative launched nationally in January 2008 that teaches kids about money and business. The initiative includes an award-winning TV series, free classroom curriculum, outreach activities, and a website targeting children 9 – 16 years old.  The Foundation is responsible for the fundraising and outreach of the program, and a coalition of over 300 credit unions and affiliates from across the country have helped exclusively fund Biz Kid$.

Many credit unions leverage Biz Kid$ to teach financial education in schools in their community. In addition to the Foundation’s box sets and starter kits, companion materials and other resources for teachers and parents are available at no cost on the Biz Kid$ website, The site also features clips from the series and invites kids to appear on the show.

For more information about Biz Kid$, click here.

For More Information & Questions... Danielle Brown, National Program Director, at (608) 231-4353 or