News & Press: Credit Union News

Affinity Plus employees help Hastings Middle School students get a Reality Check

Tuesday, March 22, 2016  
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Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union – HASTINGS, Minn. (March 22, 2016) – Last week, Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union employees volunteered with Hastings Middle School to help facilitate Reality Check, a program to help students experience what managing a household budget is like, including having an income and making decisions about the different types of expenses they will encounter based on their family size. During the event, the credit union volunteers talked with students about using various banking services and how to evaluate their spending choices, and advised them on how they can best manage their household needs through their financial choices. This is the fifth year Affinity Plus employees have volunteered to assist with Reality Check; the middle school has been holding this event for 12 years.

“Reality Check is a great opportunity for students to see the difficulties adults face as they try to maintain their monthly budget,” said Cheryl Fitzgerald-McNelis, teacher and Reality Check coordinator at Hastings Middle School.  “It also allows students to see the sacrifices many parents make to ensure their children are able to participate in the activities they enjoy.  Students learn to appreciate their parents a little more for all the work they do for them.”

The program is part of the 8th grade curriculum, where students explore different career paths and then use the estimated income for their desired profession as a guideline for their budgets during Reality Check. Fitzgerald-McNelis relies on community volunteers and high school students to assist at each of the different stations. The students’ first task is to visit the financial institution station to deposit their money and buy checks, then visit the other booths – like housing, groceries, charitable donations, transportation, and medical insurance – to make purchases and spending decisions for their family.

“We are committed to helping our members make the best financial decisions based on their individual needs, and we have the services and tools to support that,” said Kari Krummel, Hastings branch manager and Reality Check volunteer. “Having the opportunity to partner with the middle school to provide students real-life experience is invaluable. The lessons they learn during this event will stay with them throughout high school, college, and beyond, and we are honored to be able to contribute to the school’s efforts.”

For more information about Affinity Plus, visit

Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, financial cooperative that puts people first above profits. Members of Affinity Plus receive maximum value through competitive rates, minimal fees, and unique, member-centric products and programs. Affinity Plus has 27 branches located throughout the state. With over $1.7 billion in assets with $3.5 billion in assets under management, Affinity Plus is based in St. Paul and is owned by more than 180,000 members. Additional information is available at or by calling (800) 322-7228.

Minnesota Credit Union Network
555 Wabasha Street N, Suite 200
St. Paul, MN 55102

(651) 288-5170
(800) 477-1034