WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Life after Graduation can be a harsh reality, and the Pando Initiative is working to make that transition easier by helping teens tackle financial literacy.

For middle to high school students, their program is called Reality U.

Austin Kastler and Jeremiah Whitson completed the program as freshmen. As a result, they feel prepared for the next phase of life.

“Whenever I was a freshman, when I got money, I’m like what can I spend it on,” said Kastler.

“Now, I’m kind of like, maybe I should save a little bit, just like in case, for like an emergency or even for like college where I’m going next year.”

The program is a financial simulator. It walks students through 12 situations they may face as adults.

“They get to choose if they want to be married, if they want to have kids, if they want to have pets, all these things, and they get to go around and practice paying these bills,” Jess Ciriaco, a Reality U Manager, said.

The course even includes simulator babies. The students quickly learn expenses add up fast.

“Gotta save your money, don’t be spending it on a bunch of video games and stuff,” said Whitson.

“You gotta pay for a house, you gotta pay for a car.”

Reality doesn’t have to hurt, “they have power today with their words and their actions to make a difference in their financial future,” said Ciriaco.

“It starts now, and they have the power in them to start making that path for themselves,” said Ciriaco.

Teaching teens compound interest doesn’t only apply to a bank account.

The Pando Initiative has brought the Reality U program to over 10,000 students at more than 50 locations this academic school year.

Three Ways to Support:

  1. Bring Reality U to your School
  2. Volunteer
  3. Donate