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
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
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.