ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., Nov. 10, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) has awarded two New Mexico credit unions with Experiential Learning grants for 2015 – 2016 for their efforts in utilizing experiential learning programs such as Reality Fairs, Retirement Fairs, and Life Simulations. High Plains Federal Credit Union in Clovis, NM and Guadalupe Credit Union in Santa Fe, NM are two recipients of only twelve (12) new Experiential Learning grants approved for the 2015-2016 period. 

High Plains Credit Union
, along with local partners, will be hosting a "Day of Reality" where both a 'Life Simulation' and a 'Reality Fair' will be held for 600 area high school students in an effort to create awareness for such programs and enhance student financial knowledge. Reality Fairs (or "Financial Reality Fairs") are interactive financial literacy tools that assist high school students in learning about and experiencing some of the financial challenges they will face when they start life on their own. It's a hands-on experience in which students identify their career choice and starting salaries then complete a budget sheet requiring them to live within their monthly salary while paying for basics, such as housing, utilities, transportation, clothing, food, and additional expenditures.
Similarly, Guadalupe Credit Union will initiate plans for their own Reality Fair program in the Santa Fe community. There are currently no such programs being conducted within the state of New Mexico, and Guadalupe CU hopes to reach 450 students with this initiative, in 2016. 

High Plains Federal Credit Union has been a very active supporter of financial education of young people, over the past 10 years. High Plains FCU CEO and President, Marty Tressell, states that "The program we plan to deliver will reach almost all the freshman at the Freshman Academy of Clovis High School and will be a day of learning that we believe they will never forget! We plan to deliver 5-6 Reality Fairs at the school!" Tressell also noted that High Plains FCU has "partnered with the United Way of Eastern New Mexico in the past to deliver other financial educational programs to the area" and they are "very excited [United Way of Eastern New Mexico] has partnered with us once again to produce this program."

Winona Nava, Guadalupe Credit Union CEO, noted that these financial literacy initiatives naturally align with Guadalupe CU's mission. "Our mission at Guadalupe Credit Union is to provide financial empowerment to our members," said Winona Nava, CEO. "We are excited about the opportunity this grant provides, enabling us to put decision-making tools into the hands of the next generation of consumers. Our goal with the Reality Fair programs is to help get them off on the right foot, really understand their financial choices and the impact their spending decisions will have on their lives." 

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