Inside the Foundation  
FOCUS Summit Attendees can Experience Life Simulation
Tuesday, December 17, 2013 7:00 AM

Simulations are a valuable teaching tool. They provide an opportunity for participants to experience certain situations, as well as appreciate the tough choices that sometimes have to be made. At the Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation’s FOCUS Summit Feb. 6-7, 2014, attendees will have an opportunity to experience a Life Simulation.

Featuring Lois Kitsch, REAL Solutions National Program Manager for the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF), 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.

Poverty is a serious problem in this country. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 18.4 percent of Arkansas’ population lives below the poverty line. In Texas, 17 percent of the population lives in poverty. For a family of three, that’s less than $18,500 of income a year. In Oklahoma, 16.3 percent of families live in poverty.

Poverty Map

In the simulation to be presented at the FOCUS Summit, participants will assume the role of a family living in poverty. Some families are newly unemployed, some are homeless and others are senior citizens living on disability payments or raising grandchildren.

During the activity, these “families” will struggle to make ends meet in the simulated month. At the conclusion of the exercise (this is not a game), participants will be more aware to the daily realities of many American families. According to Kitsch, walking in another’s shoes is a far more effective way to sensitize others to the needs of immigrants and other low-wage working families than from traditional diversity or classroom learning.

Open to all credit union professionals, community leaders and educators, the FOCUS Summit will be held at the Doubletree Galleria Hotel in Dallas. This two-day event is an opportunity for financial education advocates to network, share best practices, learn about available resources, as well as explore proven techniques and strategies for deploying financial education into their local schools and communities.

Highlights of the 2014 program include a performance by The Disclosures: Musicians with a Mission, as well as a keynote address from Jean Chatzky, an author and financial editor for NBC’s Today Show. Attendees will also learn about financial education programs, including

  • The National Endowment for Financial Education High School Financial Planning Program
  • BizKid$
  • FamilyMint
  • Sammy the Savings Rabbit
  • Money Mammals
  • And More 

Foundation FOCUS is a collaborative initiative that allows the Foundation to diversely impact communities.  As part of Foundation FOCUS, the Foundation created the Foundation FOCUS Network, people working together to improve the financial well-being in their communities, from preschool to adulthood.

Sponsorship opportunities are available, and the Friends of Consumer Freedom has already signed on as a sponsor. The fee to attend the two-day program $250. For additional information about the summit, including online registration, please visit If you have any questions, please contact the Foundation, at (800) 953-8283.