United Way of Central Kansas and Great Bend Middle School hosted Reality U on October 18th. Reality U is an interactive exercise for 8th graders that gives them a monthly salary based on their GPA and interests, then sends them out into the real world where they have to buy a house and car, pay for groceries, clothes, insurance, utilities and their phone. This is the second year that UWCK and GBMS have put this on and it was another impactful year for the students. At the end of each session, GBMS staff, volunteers, and local business leaders heard students discuss what they learned with the exercise. Numerous students commented about how hard life is, how expensive it is, that adults don’t have it easy, children are expensive and how important retirement is, how difficult money is to track, and the difference between needs and wants. One of the most impactful statements made by a student was how much more respect he now had for his mother because of this exercise. He hadn’t realized how difficult it was to budget money and provide for a family.
This impact would not have been possible without our amazing sponsors and volunteers. Sponsors for this year’s event include: Adams, Brown, Beran & Ball, Benefit Management LLC, Bryant Funeral Home, City of Great Bend, Credit Union of America, Farmers Bank & Trust, First Kansas Bank, Marmie Ford, Nex-Tech Wireless, and Wheatland Electric. UWCK is also grateful to the more than 50 volunteers who gave their time to work a booth or be a speaker in one of the breakout sessions. The Great Bend Middle School Booster Club also generously provided lunch for the volunteers who gave up all or part of their day to help with this project. In total, more than 100 hours of volunteer time and more than 100 hours of donated time from our generous sponsors are needed to make this event a success and thanks to the giving nature of our community, we were able to make it happen again this year.