Organization: Junior Achievement, SecureFutures and Jewish Family Services
Volunteer Service: Since 2014
What is the mission of these organizations?
Junior Achievement (JA) and SecureFutures both provide financial education to youth in Metro Milwaukee to help them manage their personal finances and be successful in the global economy. Jewish Family Services (JFS) provides social services to individuals, families and children in Greater Milwaukee, including mental health and counseling services, and housing.
How did you get involved with these organizations?
I first became involved with Jewish Family Services by signing up for an event in Roots in Our Community, our volunteer program. I enjoyed the experience so much that I continued to grow my involvement and have since developed an incredible relationship with the staff and program director. In 2015, I connected with Junior Achievement to learn more about their opportunities. I felt strongly about their mission and wanted to help in any way I could. My involvement with SecureFutures naturally followed as I continued to provide financial education.
Can you share a memorable experience you’ve been a part of through your community involvement?
I have had so many memorable experiences. With Junior Achievement, it’s the gratitude of the students. Over the years I have accumulated a packet of thank you cards from students expressing the joy they had during our time together.
With JFS, I am proud to have helped them build a playground at their facility in 2018. I was involved in all components from developing the campaign and fundraising to the build day that Associated Bank colleagues helped organize. It feels amazing to see children play on equipment they wouldn’t otherwise have and give them a positive outlet in their community.
What is the most rewarding part of volunteering?
I am proud just to be able to give back to my community and represent Associated Bank. Intrinsically, it feels good to help others, whether it’s educating our youth, serving meals so families can have food on their tables, or providing important information to help people manage their finances and prevent financial fraud.
Why should other colleagues get involved in financial education?
As bank colleagues, we are experts in the field and have access to countless resources to aid in our success—including each other. Often, I invite colleagues from different departments to join me and share more about their areas of expertise. Anyone can get involved in financial education because opportunities are available for all levels of experience. With JA and SecureFutures, you get to choose the grade or age of children you want to work with and they provide all the materials and training.
How has the pandemic affected the way you give back?
During the pandemic we’ve had to make a few adjustments, but we worked through it to create an incredible new experience for students to learn from home. We can still interact virtually and make those connections with students, many of whom long for our attention. Volunteering virtually actually gives us more opportunity to give back wherever we are.
How do you feel volunteering has changed you as a person?
I think that it’s fueled my passion for being part of the greater good in the world. I’m very appreciative to have an employer that supports my passion for helping our communities.
Why is it important to give back to the communities we serve?
Every community needs support from its members. It doesn’t matter where you live, there are always opportunities to give back. There are a lot of underserved people that can benefit from your time. Without volunteers, many of the events and services we enjoy would not be possible.
What advice would you give other colleagues looking to start volunteering?
Volunteering gives you a sense of purpose. It’s fulfilling and a great way to get to know our communities and the people who live around us. It can also help us discover a new passion, so find something you’re interested in and give it a try.