How do you prepare for life as an independent adult? How do you learn all those life lessons about finances and decision making before arriving at the school of “Hard Knocks”?
Eight Globe University-Eau Claire students–Megan Schaefer, Alice Meineke, Marie Jeffcoat, Sarah Steinle, Alissa Kenealy, Christine Pletts, and Danielle Swanson–assisted Dr. Pam Ogden from Oakwood Hills Veterinary Clinic in the Real Life Academy experience at The Plaza Hotel.
Initiators of the project took the idea to area high schools to assist in teaching students about money management. Several businesses set up booths to provide hands-on experiences in fiscal responsibility to the high school students.
The Real Life Academy is offered in the Spring and Fall to Juniors and Seniors from Altoona, Augusta, Fall Creek, Memorial, North, and Regis High Schools. These students are given a scenario of a profession, family status, and a paycheck with one month’s salary. The students proceed to the various booths with a checkbook in hand to purchase groceries, make decisions about the type of housing, transportation, phone options,insurance, entertainment, and other life choices that will consume their monthly paycheck. The students visit 28 booths in all, including a pets booth.
At the pets booth, students must decide if they want a pet, what type of pet they would like, and then are faced with veterinary expenses, food costs based on the type and size of the animal. The Globe University vet tech students helped the high schoolers learn about the additional expenses of owning a pet, which may include a larger down payment on an apartment or expenses incurred due to damage to the house or furnishings.
Dr. Ogden hopes that the high school students will learn responsible pet ownership and begin to think about the expenses of pet ownership before indulging a whim which may result in surrendering the pet.
Christine Pletts, one of the Globe volunteers at the pets booth, commented, “I think writing a fake check for hundreds of dollars made this activity very real for the students. Having participated in the Real Life Academy, these students are more likely to consider all of the responsibilities of pet ownership before purchasing an animal.”
Educational mission accomplished!