Making a difference in a young person’s life
On April 17th, seven Grandpoint Bank employees volunteered at the Junior Achievement (JA) Finance Park held in Los Angeles. They were each responsible for mentoring a small group of students throughout the day.
Junior Achievement (JA) Finance Park allows students (7th to 12th grade) to become “an adult for the day” with real life adult situations in a real life setting of stores, financial institutions and shops.
Each student is given a life profile which includes income, job, marital status and even kids! Using these adult situations, students work to create a balanced monthly budget while making decisions about housing, transportation, insurance, savings, entertainment expenses and much more. Volunteers are there to assist the students with their life situation and budget.
Here’s what some of our volunteers had to say about their day at the JA Finance Park:
Tom Jeong, AVP, Underwriter, South Bay:
Since I was an adolescent, I have always wanted to participate in programs related to finance. I’ve always had the desire to give back to the community while making a difference in a youth’s life. This was my first opportunity to do so. Seeing the students’ eyes light up with curiosity and fill with knowledge was such a rewarding experience! Simply sitting side-by-side with the students took me back to the early days of my youth. What a nostalgic feeling!
Mari Peters, VP, Client Relations Officer, South Bay:
This was my third time volunteering for the Junior Achievement Finance Park. This year, the format was totally different from past years. The students used IPADs. Once the students signed onto their iPad, they received their “simulated identity.” They found out if they were married, had children, their occupation, how much they were paid and if they were in debt. We answered their “life questions” and kept reminding them that they were not making purchases for themselves only but also for their “family.” We stressed to the students to always “pay themselves first” – save money for emergencies. The goal was to make the students budget and learn the difference between wants and needs. As an example, one of my students wanted to purchase a luxury SUV, but because of his income and financial obligations, he could only purchase a much less expensive vehicle. Many students were disappointed in the simulated person that they were given. This in itself was quite a lesson to them: 1) get a better education; and 2) learn to deal with the life you end up with.
Tony Bosshardt, VP, Corporate Trainer, Human Resources
I have participated in Junior Achievement for the past several years, both at Grandpoint Bank and prior institutions. It is always a rewarding experience to interact with the kids and to see their genuine appreciation. They really seem interested in hearing about our personal career experiences and learning valuable, necessary life skills that will help them as they enter the world as adults. Volunteers leave at the end of the day with a true sense of having made a difference in someone’s life.
Golam Thanviruddin, AVP, Lending Compliance Analyst
I volunteered because I truly believe Junior Achievement provides a fantastic tool for these children. As an adult looking back, I always felt our school system didn’t prepare me for the real world; things such as student loans, credit cards, auto loans or how to manage my expenses in general. I really believe in this program on a personal level.
What I really enjoyed about this particular event was how invested these students were in their future. It was refreshing to see. Most of them had a clear idea of their path and how to get there.
Rochelle Chandler-Douglas, Client Service Representative II, Brentwood, CA
I believe that helping create a better tomorrow will be the best thing I can do as a young adult. I wanted to let the children know about the mistakes I made as a young child, and let them know that if you try your best and learn from someone else’s story, then it can help you greatly. I talked with them about finances, life and how to plan ahead for their futures. I also learned a lot from them. It was a great experience and I would love to do it again and again.
More information about Junior Achievement of Southern California can be found here.
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