Students learn skills for successfully moving out on their own
To help students “make the move” they were paired with roommates to share expenses and given a job along with a certain amount in savings. For example, one identity sheet gave the participant the job of bookkeeper working a 40-hour a week job at $8 per hour.
His or her monthly take home pay was $1,100.80 and there was $2,000 in a savings account to help with moving expenses.
Once participants received an identity, instruction packet and roommates, they progressed through a list of stations in order to set up a bank account, rent an apartment, file a change of address and obtain service from a phone company and public utilities.
In the “Road Map to Independent City” students were told the most important thing to learn was “what else do I need to learn before I move out on my own?”
Fisher said he learned the importance of balancing his checkbook after each purchase and making sure he stayed within his budget by not buying items he didn’t need.
Allen had $688 left in his savings at the end of the move. He said he and Fisher, who was his roommate, did well because they purchased basic services keeping monthly bills low rather than adding additional packages such as high-speed Internet service. They shopped for “toys” only after they knew they had a little extra money in their budget.
There were several informational stations available to students that were not required move-in stops but would provide additional knowledge and skills. These included the furniture store, cable TV service, a walk-in medical clinic, a car lot, community college registration, college financial aid and an employment agency that provided students with help locating a better job.
“At the end of the day students sit down and go through their budgets to see if they can make it and see where they spent too much,” said Laurie Wann, training coordinator and HR consultant for Alliance for Workforce Development, Inc. and mayor of Independent City.
Sponsors of Independent City included the Lassen County Office of Education, Lassen Works, Bridges, PACE, AFWD, and the Lassen County Drug and Alcohol Department and Probation Department. Many other local agencies and companies participated.
In addition to life skills, each student that attended took home a prize from a raffle drawing. The four top prizes were a digital camera, laptop computer, cell phone and iPod. However more than 60 prizes were given away.
Students received raffle tickets each time they visited a station. Informational stations included smoking cessation, addressing alcohol use and binge drinking, child abuse and domestic violence and the National Guard.
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