Finance program seeks help

Published 10:21 pm Tuesday, November 18, 2014

An organization that delivers lessons in schools to prepare students for economic success is seeking volunteers to help teach students in Suffolk.

Junior Achievement of Greater Hampton Roads is in need of 17 volunteers to deliver its Finance Park curriculum in Nansemond River, King’s Fork and Lakeland high schools, as well as in Turlington Woods School, said Aaron Arnold, education manager for Finance Park.

Volunteers lead three lessons, he said: budgeting, credit and finance education.

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“During those sessions, we encourage volunteers to share their own experiences with personal finance,” while also answering questions, Arnold said.

“A lot of our volunteers do have a professional background in finance,” he said. “But we do currently have one volunteer in Suffolk who’s a youth pastor.”

The pastor talks to students about paying for his kids to go to college and the costs associated with starting his own church, Arnold said.

“It really is about sharing that experience with the kids and making it real for them,” he said.

Volunteers launch their lessons from an existing curriculum, Arnold said, adding it’s Finance Park’s second year in Suffolk schools.

“It’s our capstone program for financial literacy,” he said. “Essentially, we are trying to get all of the personal finance basics across to kids in one curriculum, and build up to a simulation at the end, which is a budgeting simulation.”

The simulation, he said, involves a game about such things as budgeting for a family, deciding what percentage of income can be spent on different things and dealing with credit.

“Really, it’s about decision-making in the face of financial circumstances,” Arnold said. “It empowers them to be prepared for adulthood, and the financial reality associated with it.”

Volunteers are needed in the Suffolk schools during December and January. The Community Action Coalition of Suffolk is working to help find the volunteers required.

“As a volunteer delivering the curriculum, you will share real-life experience while students become an adult for the day and immerse themselves in a reality-based decision-making process addressing aspects of individual family budgeting including housing, transportation, food, utilities, healthcare, investments, philanthropy and banking,” stated Bob Stephens, coalition co-founder and facilitator — and himself a volunteer.

The experience of volunteering is fulfilling, Stephens said, adding that commitments can be divided between pairs and trios to accommodate busy schedules.

Anyone interested can contact Aaron Arnold at 455-9501 or