Submitted by Laura Carrillo, St. Xavier University
ILASFAA Diversity Issues Chair
This year, ILASFAA's hosted our annual Reality Store at John L. Marsh Elementary (on the southeast side of Chicago); the event took place on Friday, February 17th. There was approximately 90 students in 7th grade who participated. The Reality Store, similar to MASFAA's Access Committee annual event, engaged the students and they were able to gain a better understanding of financial literacy, debt management and overall life skills through role playing. At each station the students learned the importance of budgeting, dealing with unexpected expenses, and the importance of education. ILASFAA members donated items for the students to take with them that each of the students were excited to receive and wear! We had over 10 institutions represented, and a few of our lending and servicing partners also showed up in order to support this awesome way to give back! We were also fortunate enough to have representatives from the office of Alderwoman Susan Sadlowski Garza of Chicago's 10th Ward for the first group of students, each manning a station; neither of them had been to a Reality Store before but said they had a great time.
While the ILASFAA board generously provides some funding for the event, there will also be a wine raffle at the Illinois conference next month, the proceeds of which will also help defray the cost of putting on the reality store. Bottles will be available for viewing in the exhibition area, where you can also purchase your raffle tickets. Last year's wine raffle was a huge success! If you'll be attending the conference this year, members of the Facilities, Program, Registration and Diversity Committees will be available during the conference to collect your wine bottle donations as well as selling raffle tickets.
The Reality Store was a great experience. We learned that some of the kids want to be lawyers, electricians, narcotics cops, and many are still weighing their options. Seeing the reactions and hearing the students comments, it was reassuring that the students had fun but most importantly they were learning.