LEESBURG — Lake City Bank recently hosted an event at Leesburg Elementary School designed to teach students lessons in economics that aren’t often learned until adulthood. Through the program called the Reality Store, the employees from the local bank introduced Leesburg 6th-grade students at various stations to life scenarios designed to make the participants think about the tough decisions adults make every day.
“Lake City Bank has hosted Reality Stores since about 2010, and our operations group wanted to reach out to the community by hosting one,” said Lake City Bank employee Karla Kroll. “They are a real-life activity designed to help students learn about the economics of life.”
Students are given a personal situation, such as being married with two children, holding a job as a nurse or having an income of $50,000, and they have to select living choices and the expenditures that go along with them at different stations staffed by Lake City Bank employees.
Students might be asked to choose between renting or buying a home and will be given budgeting problems that go along with that choice. Other scenarios like transportation choices or decisions regarding utilities could be part of the exercise as well as lessons in how to react to unforeseen contingencies.
“It’s really fun to work with students and see them realize how much it costs to run a household,” said Tiffany Peterson. “They figure out quickly that they might want to get more education, or that buying a brand-new car might not be the best choice.” Schools appreciate Reality Stores too. “Learning about the economics of life hands-on is quite valuable for our students,” said Nathan Polston, Leesburg principal. “And the fact that the bank makes it a turnkey event for us is even better.”