RMJ Foundation’s Bite of Reality Program Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Bite of Reality event at SkyOne FCU.

Bite of Reality®, the Richard Myles Johnson (RMJ) Foundation’s signature program, is celebrating 10 years of providing a fun, interactive opportunity for credit unions to deliver financial education to youth in their communities. Since its inception in 2012, the program has reached more than 110,000 students in California and Nevada and evolved to incorporate technology, which has been shared with credit unions across the country.

A look back:

  • In 2012, Bite of Reality was a paper-based program where students were required to use paper and pencil to track their “purchases” at the various stations, and to write checks to the “vendors.”
  • In 2016, the Bite of Reality App was developed and allowed students to use their smartphones (or a loaner tablet) to enter their purchases, much like an online banking situation.
  • With the success of the Bite of Reality App in California and Nevada, Bite of Reality began licensing out the app to other state credit union foundations, leagues and credit unions across the country. There are currently 16 states with either individual credit union or statewide licensees using the app.
  • A credit score function was added in 2019 so that every student is randomly assigned a credit score between 600 and 800 and can experience the implications of having a low or high score.
  • Prior to the pandemic, Bite of Reality was reaching approximately 30,000 students per year in California and Nevada. With the onset of remote learning, a “remote” version of the Bite of Reality App was released, allowing credit unions to modify the delivery and offer Bite of Reality through a Zoom setting.
  • In 2020, the remote version of the Bite of Reality App was offered to any credit union across the country, at no charge, during the entirety of the pandemic. More than a dozen credit unions took advantage of that opportunity, meaning remote reality fairs have been taking place in more than 25 states across the country.
  • A web-based version of the app was launched in 2021 for those occasional classroom presentations where the students will have a laptop and remain at their desk for the exercise.
  • In-person fairs have started to take place again in the spring of 2022, with more than 10,000 students reached in California and Nevada since January.
  • Bite of Reality is currently launching a research project to determine what might come next, by determining how educators may want to incorporate learning in the classroom after a reality fair is completed.

RMJ Foundation is the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues' premier youth financial education partner. 

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