LaGRANGE, Ga. (WRBL) – Callaway Middle School students had the opportunity to simulate the life of a 26-year-old on Sep. 30, 2021. Communities in Schools partnered with the Pando Initiative to provide the students with the Reality U program.
Nicholas Griffin, the Site Coordinator for Callaway Middle School who works alongside Communities in Schools, said his favorite part of the experience is seeing it become an eye-opening experience for the students.
“I think the best part is when you see a child start off with their scenario and they go straight to get a Mustang but they don’t have a house. So it’s like ‘hey you don’t have a place to live, you don’t even have an address’ so yeah, it’s awesome,” said Griffin.
As part of the Reality U program, students are given passports with an occupation based off of their Grade Point Average. Their monthly salary is determined by their occupation and they must calculate living expenses like utilities, housing and children based off of their salary.
The different booths to help the students calculate their expenses based on their salaries were managed by volunteers from the community. Volunteers included multiple members from LaGrange College’s athletic department and Hogansville Mayor, Bill Stankiewicz.
Kendal Wallace, the Men’s Head Basketball Coach at LaGrange College, was one of the volunteers at Callaway Middle School. He said he also thinks it is an eye-opening experience for the students, he hopes it encourages them to keep their grades up.
“It’s quite eye-opening for them to come over here and think they are going to get a phone and all of a sudden you have to say ‘well how are you going to charge your phone if you don’t have electricity at the house?’. It’s very eye-opening to see that, I like to see the reactions of the young people and how the light comes on,” said Wallace.
According to Griffin, a total of 102 eighth graders participated in the simulation at Callaway Middle School. He said Reality U is also hosted at Long Cane Middle School and Callaway High School and he hopes to expand the program to more schools.