Credit For Life

Folks here may know that I volunteer with a national organization who help small business owners start and grow businesses. It’s a rewarding use of my time now that I am retired.

I had an opportunity to volunteer at a “Credit For Life” event being held at our local High School which was sponsored by a number of local community banks who asked if I could help out at the event.

I got some pretty sketchy details about the event, but know it would be to assist with an event that all High School Juniors were required to participate in to learn about credit, income, expenses, etc. It sounded right up my ally.

Of course, I first needed to successfully pass a CORI screen to make sure that I was not a criminal offender or whatever so I passed the first hurdle :wink:

The second hurdle was that the event started at 7:50AM which meant that I had to be out of the house at 7:30AM at the latest. Now that I’m retired, I realized this morning that I’m probably never going to volunteer for anything that starts before 10AM :wink:

The event was not planned particularly well for the volunteers who’s job it was to help the students with balancing their income and expenses through major life choices for:

  • higher ed (or not)
  • choosing an occupation
  • choosing housing, transportation, medical insurance, etc.

Each topic had amounts that were aligned with today’s income and expenses and the goal of the student was to balance their monthly income and try to save for retirement along the way.

The students were given a custom-built app (paid for through the sponsorship of the local banks) to make the choices. It was nice that the app did all of the math for the kids so that the time was spent more about the choices and “what if” testing than actually having to do the math like they used to have to do on paper.

The big issue was that many of the volunteers never got a chance to preview the app so when students were coming up to us to ask if they were doing it right, and/or making the right life decisions, we volunteers were learning the app on the fly. My feedback to the organizer was that we volunteers needed some quick training on the app before hand!!!

The other challenge that I experienced was that the students were really reluctant to engage with us adult volunteers. You would think we all had the plague. We were initially sitting at a table waiting for the kids to come up to us for help, but we finally decided to go invade their little click circles and ask if they had questions or needed assistance with balancing their income and expenses. Once engaged, some kids would ask for help, but many just wanted to be left alone to do their thing.

Anyway, the concept was great - it just did not pan out as good as it could have been in practice. Maybe next year, if I decide to volunteer gain (ugghhh 7:30AM) I’ll at least make sure that I know what the app looks like and what it does!!

I’d highly recommend a program like this given the right preparation and setup.



I am also retired. Volunteered to work at a polling place a few years ago. Get there at 6am, to set up, open polls at 7, close polls at 8pm, break down the voting booths and wait while the precinct heads pack up the ballots, and make it home around 10. Then, I got a phone call that the precinct head had forgotten to have us all sign one particular form, so jump back in the car and head for the township hall to sign the form around 11pm.

Was in the same crew for the election in November. That time, the precinct head fell at home that morning and hit her nose. She showed up and made sure we were open and running smoothly, then she headed for the doc. She called: yes, nose broken, yes, she was heavily medicated, and we have to get by without her.


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I only had one such experience, judging a high school experiment assignment. Summing up, the judging was most UN-scientific!

One girl was in tears, her experiment had failed! She set out to show how harmful dirty dishwater was for the environment. She watered a pot full of plants daily with dishwater expecting them to die. Instead they flourished. Experiment failed! With such a crappy experiment she was ignored and in tears.

I tried to explain that it was not a failure at all, that the phosphate in the dishwater was a fertilizer and other facts about experiments. She kept on crying, the jury kept on ignoring and adulating the school’s WunderKind.

The Captain