Associated Bank colleagues from the Burlington branch volunteered with Make A Difference - Wisconsin to teach financial literacy classes to students in the area. With the opportunity presenting itself at the last minute, colleagues Irina Kwiatkowska, district manager; Leila Pals, bank manager; Rob Stinson, universal banker; Phyllis Rice, residential loan officer and Dodie Zimdars, teller supervisor, scrambled to put together a team that would teach the programs.

Make A Difference - Wisconsin is an organization dedicated to providing financial literacy programs and resources that empower students to make sound financial decisions in their lives. The organization strives to build strong communities in which students and their families can make informed financial decisions and take control of their financial futures.

Associated Bank colleagues taught classes involving budgeting and saving; understanding checking accounts; and understanding credit cards, credit history/scores, and credit reports. Building off the material provided by Make A Difference - Wisconsin, Associated volunteers shared their personal experiences and gave real-life financial planning examples.

Stinson took the lead on the effort this year. “I jumped at the chance to be able to educate the community I live in about important financial information,” said Stinson. “I had a wonderful time teaching the financial literacy classes to the students of Burlington High School.”

Kwiatkowska, who had taught classes in the past for Make A Difference - Wisconsin recalls her experience, “I find participating in the program very rewarding, and I hope that we truly do manage to make a small difference in the future lives of all students we get the privilege to meet through the program.”

Make A Difference expressed their gratitude to Associated Bank colleagues, thanking them for their time and efforts to Make a Difference - Wisconsin and the students of Burlington High School. “Without you, these students would not be reached,” said Kathy Weinberg-Kinsey, volunteer coordinator of Make a Different. “Associated is wonderful to offer their expertise in this way to the community.”

In light of the Burlington colleagues’ volunteerism, there will now be nearly 100 students whose financial futures will improve. Associated has been a proud supporter of Make A Difference - Wisconsin for many years, contributing upwards of $10,000 to the organization each year.

“I am very happy to be a part of this program and excited to see what I can be a part of in the future, whether it be with Make A Difference - Wisconsin or Associated,” said Stinson.