Alison Welch and Omar Richardson both work at Charles Schwab. Their passion for teaching financial literacy to teens shines bright. This spring, they are teaching JA Economics for Success at Burnet Middle School in Austin. Here’s what they have to say about volunteering for JA.
Tell us about the experience overall. What did you like most about teaching JA Economics for Success?
Allison: My experience was great. The thing I like the most is knowing the long-term impact I’ll have on those kids and the support I offer the teacher. Financial literacy is something that should be shared with everyone of all ages!!
Omar: I had a great experience teaching Economics for Success with Junior Achievement this year. The kids were very engaged and I feel like the real-life application of the exercises really facilitates that.
Were there any Ah-Ha moments you observed the students, perhaps when they made a connection or new discovery through JA?
Allison: The biggest Ah-Ha moment was when we were playing the game where the students have to figure out what they can afford versus what they want with a salary they are given. What I thought the students would pick (mansions and expensive cars) was not the case for most of the students. I learned that these kids are aware of the resources available to them and what it takes to achieve, or obtain the things, they want. This is not just about financial literacy- but overall success in work and life.
Omar: I was pretty surprised with how much familiarity the kids already had with some of the concepts (e.g. credit/debit, credit scores, insurance) which made it a lot easier to take a deeper dive into more practical applications/scenarios. I was also able to have some small group interactions with some of the students where I was able to answer questions concerning my college experience as well as my career progression.
Anything else you want to say?
Allison: My teacher was very hands on and was genuinely interested in the program, the kids, and me!
Omar: Overall, I had a wonderful time with JA at Burnet this year and I’m looking forward to doing it again next year.