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Our Illinois 4-H Story

Things just got really real for youth living out life in the 'real world'

The real world is a lot tougher than most eighth graders know. Extension's "Welcome to the Real World" brings home that lesson. WTTRW is an experiential learning simulation which shows youth real facts about how the careers they choose and the decisions they make effect the money they have to spend or save each month.

Tessa Hobbs-Curley, U of I Extension 4-H youth development educator, recently completed WTTRW training with 467 eighth grade students from Lombard, Knoxville, Abingdon, Avon, Churchhill, Williamsfield and Monmouth with help from Delabar CTE System and more than 100 volunteers.

Here's the simulation: You're 25, have completed the educational requirements for your chosen career and receive no financial help from family or friends. Each month, you receive a salary (based on today's estimated earnings), but that doesn't last long as you begin to deduct costs of taxes, savings, student loans, housing, transportation, clothing, utilities, and luxury items for the lifestyle you choose.Hobbs-Curley said youth leave the simulation with a clearer understanding of what it's like to pay bills for an entire month based on the salary of the occupation they think they want.


Judy Mae Bingman, University of Illinois Extension Marketing and Communications Manager

Judy uses powerful words and photography to tell the Extension story. She is a skilled communication strategist and storyteller with demonstrated success in building teams and creating strong organizational brand identities that deepen Extension’s impact among key audiences, build brand loyalty, strengthen employee talent, and expand public engagement. She is a frequent conference presenter at the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents Conference and helps Extension staff across the nation tell compelling stories.