Principle Five: Education, training, and information. Credit unions educate and train members, employees and volunteers so they can contribute effectively to the development of the credit union. In addition, credit unions provide financial education for their members and the public.
Principle Seven: Concern for community. Credit unions work for the sustainable development of communities through policies developed and accepted by the members. Credit unions seek to achieve a greater good through responsible corporate citizenship.
Credit union staff often interact with and assist members who struggle each day to get by financially. Assisting members living on a financial cliff is not easy, and sometimes it is hard to understand why people make the financial choices they do.
The Life Simulation, an experiential learning program of the National Credit Union Foundation, bridges this understanding gap by placing staff in the shoes of people encountering these struggles. The Life Simulation experience is designed to help credit union employees, volunteers and leadership begin to understand what it might be like to live in a typical low-income family trying to survive from month to month.
It is unique and special because it combines the financial and emotional distress that 25 simulated families tackle as one of up to 90 participants. "The goal is increasing empathy and awareness," shared Jeff Hardin, the League's director of cooperative initiatives.
Through a partnership with Coastal Credit Union, Carolina Foothills Federal Credit Union and the Carolinas Credit Union League, the Life Simulation is available for credit unions and chapters in North Carolina and South Carolina to use free-of-charge. "It is a three hour simulation from beginning to end, but that investment of time is sure to impact people's ability to relate to the struggles that members go through," said Hardin.
In addition to the Life Simulation kit, Hardin is available to assist with coordinating credit union planning efforts, as well as facilitating the event. For more information, please contact Jeff Hardin at 919-457-9063.