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Preparing students for real life decisions

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By Cathy Toole

“You need to finish school,” parents often tell their children. Sometimes it feels like those words go in one ear and out the other.

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, 28 percent of Kentucky’s high school graduates go directly to work. Six months later, 10 percent of those are unemployed.

To combat this trend, a 4-H exercise called “Reality Store” aims to give students the tools to help them make informed decisions about their future.

“Reality Store” offers students a glimpse of adulthood in a fun and practical way. The exercise helps youth to understand some “realities” involved in preparing for their future.

First, youth are given an occupation based on their educational plans after high school. Plans may include completing post-secondary education, not furthering their education after high school or dropping out of school.

In this real-life simulation, youth make decisions on where they spend their salary, such as housing, utilities, groceries, clothing, banking, autos, medical, child care, travel, entertainment, etc.

Their salary is based on the average income for the profession they choose. The exercise shows them the many decisions they will face and, perhaps more importantly, how much those decisions cost.

During the exercise, every young person will also deal with unexpected things that happen in daily life at the Crystal Ball Booth. If financial trouble crops up, they will be helped at the S.O.S. table.

The goal is to help youth learn whether their chosen occupation will support the type of lifestyle they want.

This dose of reality targets the middle school students as this group — as well as some high school students who have a chance to try again four years later — to set goals and make plans for their future.

Students from Henry County and Eminence Independent Schools will be participating in the Reality Store this Thursday.  If you have an eighth grader please talk with your son or daughter about the experience to see how they dealt with the issues they faced.

I would like to give a special thank you to the volunteers of our community that make this event possible for our youth.

December 4-H Offerings
Dec. 6 — Horse Club meeting at the Henry County Cooperative Extension Service office at 6:30 p.m.  This meeting will be a Christmas party filled with fun and food.
Dec. 13 — Dog Club meeting at the Henry County Cooperative Extension Service at 7 p.m.  The club will be baking dog treats.
Dec. 15 – Cooking Club meeting at the Henry County Cooperative Extension Service office from 3:30 until 5 p.m.
Dec. 20 – Shooting Sports meeting at the Henry County Cooperative Extension service at 7 p.m.

Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability, or national origin.