PULASKI, Va. — Some Pulaski Middle School children are learning about real life by choosing to stay after school.
When classes dismiss and students at Pulaski Middle head home for the day, about 60 kids take a brake before tackling another lesson.
"It's just a lot of fun you know. You get different opportunities to do stuff and learn about life," said Chandler Mitchell, a 7th grader at Pulaski Middle School.
The program is called Micro Society After-School.
It gives the kids real life experiences with jobs, salaries, government and taxes.
Eleven year old Isis Casey's job is with a theatre and drama business.
"You get to act out characters. You wear costumes and stuff like that. it's pretty fun," said Casey.
There are peace officers, an arts and craft business, an internet cafe,TV production and even a restaurant called the Black and Orange Cafe'.
It's where Chandler Mitchell works.
"My job kind of switches back and forth. I could be a chef or on register or cleaning up," said Mitchell.
"This is the way the world works you know?" said Principal Mike Perry.
He's seen a dramatic deference in some of his students.
"We have two primary goals in mind here, to help them academically and to make them more socially aware," Perry said.
The program is federally funded.
Not many schools have this opportunity, but a community economic development organization called Beans & Rice helped win the $200,000 grant for three years.
Perry explained, "You can study government, but this gives them a chance to live it."
Then, reality sets in.
"It's like, wait, I have no money at all, and I'm supposed to pay my taxes. How am I supposed to do that?" asked Matt Johnson, an 8th grade student in the program.
The reviews for real life?
Not so bad for these middle schoolers.
"Real life has been really good. I actually like it so far," said Casey.