April is Financial Literacy Month. Throughout this month, Associated will share spotlights of various colleagues with notable financial literacy volunteerism. 

Organizations: Junior Achievement, Asset Builders and Wausau Noon Optimist Club, Wausau, Wis.
Financial Education volunteerism: 24 years

In what ways do you volunteer to provide financial education?
I’ve been involved with Junior Achievement (JA) in the Wausau community for a number of years. Most recently, I served as a mentor in their Titan Business Challenge, which walks high school students through a simulation on how to run a business. Last year, I also volunteered with Asset Builders during their Finance and Investment Challenge Bowl for high school students, and I’ve been involved with a number of volunteer projects with the Wausau Noon Optimist Club.

Why did you decide to get involved?
Having owned my own business, I realize how important financial education is to be successful. I don’t think it’s emphasized enough and I wanted to help influence the economic success of our youth.

What impact does financial education have on the community?
The impact may not be felt immediately, but as we help young people with financial education they will be able to capitalize on their knowledge as they grow older. Hopefully, they will be an influence to their own families and friends for generations to come. I hope to help break the cycle for those who do not have basic financial literacy by providing education in the community.

What have you learned by teaching financial education?
One thing I have observed while serving as a mentor for JA’s business challenges is that you can easily tell who is interested in learning and who is not. I try to connect with all of the students by providing encouragement and giving a little extra attention to those who may not see the impact of the lessons on their future. If students are careful in how they save and spend money today, it will mean so much to their future financial health. I try to show them that saving a few dollars here and there can make a huge difference.

What advice would you give colleagues wanting to begin financial education volunteerism?
As contributing members of society who rely on the support of others, it is only fair that we get involved and give back. There is an old saying—“It is more blessed to give than receive.” When you get involved in your community, you will find this is true. It is why I love to help and connect with other people.

I would also like to say that I am very fortunate to work for Associated Bank. We are very involved in the communities we serve and our collective efforts have a big impact. I appreciate the flexibility and volunteer time off that enables me to be involved. It takes time and I value and appreciate that.