2019 Difference Maker Individual: Dion Saffold

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SecureFutures is thrilled to recognize Dion Saffold as the winner of the 2019 Lloyd Levin Difference Maker award for an individual volunteer.

Born and raised in Milwaukee, Dion’s entire education was at MPS schools: Golda Meier for elementary school and Riverside for high school. He received his bachelor’s degree from UW-Milwaukee in Business with an emphasis in Management Information Systems. He has worked for 22 years in computer security at Northwestern Mutual.

Dion’s passion for financial education comes from his father, who taught him valuable lessons that he still applies to his life and shares with teens when he volunteers in the classroom.

“He taught me financial literacy. It wasn’t formal. I’d be eating my breakfast, getting ready for school, probably reading the comics in the newspaper,” Dion said. “I didn’t realize I was learning, but I’m still getting it, it’s coming in.”

Dion knows that many teens don’t have an adult providing them with financial guidance. He’s intentional about focusing his volunteering on MPS schools like the ones he attended, bringing his knowledge to the community in which he grew up.

“Knowing that there’s a need for financial literacy, especially in the African American community – I want to give back as often as I can, so they can see someone who looks like them, who’s been where they’ve been,” said Dion.

Dion was part of the governance team of the African American Employee Resource Group at Northwestern Mutual when they chose SecureFutures as their community service partner. Since then, Dion has logged over 50 hours of time as a volunteer in the classroom. He has also given many more hours of time behind the scenes, serving with Allison Malone for the past four years as the co-coordinator of all 73 SecureFutures volunteers at Northwestern Mutual.

Dion’s impact can best be expressed in the words of Kayla, one of the many teens whose life has been changed by his work as a volunteer: “While delivering such an important topic, you were also able to bring humor and personal life experiences that helped us connect with the lessons you were teaching. You’ve made a tremendous impact and for that we genuinely appreciate you.”

SecureFutures Volunteer Manager Kathy Weinberg-Kinsey also has words of praise to share about Dion: “Dion exemplifies a commitment to underserved Milwaukee teens through the locations he has chosen: twelve different Milwaukee program sites, including four MPS schools and an MPS Youth Summit event. He and partner presenter Allison Malone have been my go-to volunteers when a program called for great role models.  I am confident they could adapt our program to meet the needs of any group of teens!”

Congratulations, Dion, and thank you for all you have done to impact the lives of teens!