(Pictured above: Neptune High School Business Department members along with First Financial staff and Jackson Academy of Business advisory board members work together to introduce the LIFE Fair Program to the Neptune School District).
Freehold, N.J. – On May 29th and June 5th, First Financial Federal Credit Union held two high schools’ first LIFE™ (Learning Independent Financial Education) financial reality fair events at the Monmouth County Vocational School in Freehold Borough and another at Neptune High School.
While the credit union has hosted financial reality fairs in the past, these were the first to be held at both schools. At Neptune High School, a group of financial literacy and entrepreneurship students successfully helped to facilitate the fair to the participating students from business classes. At MCVSD – career ready cosmetology, HVAC, and plumbing/pipefitting high school seniors all participated in the fair in two different sessions. Approximately 200 students between both schools shared in this hands-on version of the “game of life,” during which they were required to make several on-the-spot financial decisions.
The LIFE™ Fair consists of a full day hands-on experience where students, after identifying their career choice and starting salaries, are provided a budget sheet requiring them to live within their monthly salary while paying for basics such as housing, utilities, transportation, clothing, and food. Once the students visit all the fair booths, they balance their budget and sit down with a financial counselor to review their expenses and get a “financial reality check.” First Financial staff members work at the financial review tables with each of the participating students to provide insight into their budget and point out lifestyle choices they may need to change.
(Pictured above: Neptune High School students experiencing their first LIFE Fair).
In regard to the school’s experience with their first ever LIFE™ Fair, Tara Stephenson, Neptune School District’s Business Department Chair stated, “The Neptune Township School District was beyond fortunate to partner with First Financial Credit Union to host the LIFE Fair on June 5th at Neptune High School. This event was an invaluable experience for our students and opened their eyes to the real financial world that awaits them after high school. Students were provided supportive guidance and assistance on many levels from the First Financial staff. We are thrilled to begin planning another event for the upcoming school year and to have the opportunity to work with such an amazing team from First Financial!”
Niurka Coy-Bush, MCVSD CTE-Math teacher stated, “The LIFE Fair was immensely educational and very realistic. It was a huge success! The students were completely engaged in the process as they visited the different stations. The entire simulation was very well thought out and planned, and at an appropriate level for our students.”
(Pictured above: The wheel of LIFE and a few stations at the MCVSD plumbing and pipefitting classroom).
While the LIFE™ Fair was certainly full of temptations, the students had to spend their money wisely in addition to being able to save and budget themselves for the future – while also enjoying everything life has to offer. First Financial President and CEO, Issa Stephan, concluded, “Our mission for our LIFE™ Fair events is to help students understand the value of money and how to manage their money, so as they grow as an adult they’ll become more financially responsible. These fairs are able to show our local high school students in a hands-on way, about the financial realities of the real world. Our credit union puts a high priority on financial education, after all – that’s how First Financial began 83 years ago, with a group of schoolteachers in Asbury Park.”
Additional photos from the events can be seen on First Financial’s Facebook page. To inquire about or set-up a LIFE™ Fair for a Monmouth or Ocean County, NJ school or business – please contact First Financial’s Business Development Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.