Letter to the Editor

Reality Experience again a success

Friday, November 17, 2017

To The Editor:

On Oct. 9, 2017 approximately 450 eighth-grade students participated in our 12th-annual event called Reality Experience.

These students came from the four Putnam County Middle Schools as well as Eminence. They were given an unique educational opportunity to “experience reality.” Many of the volunteers for the event came from the service clubs of Greencastle: Kiwanis, Lions and Rotary, plus two philanthropic sororities: Kappa Delta Phi and Delta Theta Tau.

Prior to arrival, the teachers helped each student select from a list of 152 potential careers with approximate incomes. When they arrived at community building of the fairgrounds, the students learned how their income was drastically reduced by taxes. They set up bank accounts with a savings account and a check register to track monthly expenses. Then the students decided on family size.

From there, students saw how monthly expenses for housing, transportation, insurance, food, clothing, furniture, healthcare, etc. affected their standards of living. The “Wheel of Life” gave them a chance to benefit from gifts or incur losses. They learned the cost of a DUI or other legal problems. From job or health issues or auto accidents they saw value of having insurance. With the money left in their accounts they could plan a cruise or settle on renting a DVD. If they ran out of money they would have a chance for part-time income.

These eighth-graders completed their experience by learning of community involvement, new career opportunities, and finally by voting on a current issue. This year they were asked if the electoral college should be eliminated in favor of the popular vote deciding the presidential election.

On behalf of all the students and our many volunteers from the community, we wish to thank the following for their financial support: Greencastle Kiwanis Club, Greencastle Rotary Club, Delta Theta Tau, Kappa Delta Phi, HMSB Insurance, Old National Bank, First National Bank, North Salem State Bank and Tri-County Bank.

The food/snacks for workers and students were provided by the Greencastle Lions Club. We also give a very special thanks to Grateful Pie for providing an amazing lunch for the students and volunteers.

We would also like to thank the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department for helping us set up for the event, as well as helping us clean up afterward.

Thanks to all.

The sponsors, in turn, wish to thank the community’s volunteers and to give special thanks to the teachers and advisors that prepared the students and guided them through the experience.

Personal “thank yous” to Barbara Ashworth, who continued as our school coordinator/liaison, and to Jim Maxwell for his assistance in organizing the event.

Feedback from the volunteers, students, teachers and advisers continues to be very positive. Some have commented that the lessons learned that day awakened students to their need for education and wise money management.

A counselor also commented that “Indiana law requires that all students in grades 6 through 12 have instruction in personal financial responsibility. The Reality Experience helps us meet this requirement.”

Most students had favorable comments as well.

The service clubs and sororities continue to believe that the hard work and dedication of all those involved was well spent, and we look forward to continuing to host this annual event.

Justin Long, Chairman
Kiwanis Reality Experience