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Summit teaches financial planning, budgeting basics

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SMITHFIELD — The Johnston County Department of Social Services along with Johnston County Industries, Johnston County Youth Services and other community partners coordinated this year’s Real World Summit on Oct. 25.

The summit provided a hands-on exercise for students across Johnston County to simulate life in the real world. This is the fourth year for this event with more than 150 participants identified by Johnston County Public Schools student advocates and teachers from seven of the eight county high schools.

This year’s event was made possible by a grant awarded by Wells Fargo along with other community businesses.

The Real World Summit is a one-day simulation. The day began with workshops in four key areas: insurance, banking, budgeting and credit counseling. Workshops were presented by volunteer professionals from the community who provide a basic overview of each area and emphasize their importance.

Assisting with this year’s workshops were professionals from KS Bank, Farm Bureau and Faber Investments. Following the workshops, youth entered into a real-world simulation with a packet that included their chosen education level and salary.

They were challenged to take their fixed income and develop a budget based on everyday expenses including food, utilities, rent, clothing and transportation options provided by Johnston County Area Transportation System or Deacon Jones Automotive.

Students also incorporated situational crises such medical emergencies and simulated tickets for infractions, issued by the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office, into their budgets.

Since spending and expenses could not exceed their income, the youth found themselves making tough, but realistic decisions.

The Real World Summit Committee represented eight agencies and community volunteers including Johnston County DSS, Johnston County Industries, Johnston County Youth Services, Kelly Blanchard, Children’s Home Society, Sinno Law Office, the N.C. Division of Adult Corrections and Juvenile Justice and Alliance Behavioral Health.

Local businesses provided students with breakfast, lunch, snacks and door prizes throughout the day.