“I’m never growing up.”
“Life is expensive.”
These are just a few of the many comments received from the eighth grade students who attended the Reality Store on Monday.
The Reality Store is an annual event facilitated by the Crawfordsville chapter of Business and Professional Women and hosted by the Boys & Girls Club of Montgomery County. Eighth grade students from the county’s three middle schools attend for a brief taste of what life will be like after graduation. Adulting seemed to be the byword of the day.
The week before the Reality Store, students receive an occupation, an income and a marital and family status in introductory sessions at their respective schools.
Upon arrival at the Boys & Girls Club they pay their taxes, deposit their earnings and begin the process of obtaining housing, paying utilities, buying a car and insurance, stocking their refrigerator and even planning vacation.
School resource officers were on site issuing tickets for speeding, littering, loitering and child restraint infractions, forcing the students seek legal counsel from local attorneys who donated their time to manage the legal booth.
Karyn Douglas, Montgomery County Clerk, brought voting machine loaded with a mock election and gave a presentation on voting, then gave the students the opportunity to “vote” before they finished their stint at adulthood. Mary Lou Dawald and Ellen Ball from the League of Women Voters assisted in the voting booth.
It was a lively day with nearly 450 students, staff from each school, and more than 125 volunteers who managed the Reality Store.
INFBPW President Michele Enlow said this year’s event was almost like starting over since the Reality Store had been on hiatus due to COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the program has been updated during that time so there were adjustments to be made.
Patti Harvey, INFBPW treasurer noted that due to the pandemic shutdown of three years, many students missed the experience of the Realty Store. In order to give that experience to the students who missed it, the local BPW will be facilitating the event in October for students in their junior year of school and will hold the event each October until caught up.
When the pencils and calculators were packed away and the dust settled, the one statement that resonated loudly came from a young lady who thought it was one of the best learning days she has ever had. She said, “I’m going to thank my parents for all they do for me and my sister … I never knew.”
For more information about the Reality Store or INFBPW, contact Kym Bushong membership chair at 765-225-9599 or email@example.com.
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