New experiences for volunteer and students alike at El Puente

FacebookLinkedInTwitterSomething special always happens when volunteers venture into schools and communities new to them. That’s because students like Jasmin at El Puente High School always seem to stand out.

Larry Kaye, a business systems analyst at Wells Fargo, has taught Money Sense lessons since 2015 at a variety of schools like Pius XI Catholic H.S., West Allis Central H.S. and Project STAY. Tuesday’s “Check It Out” lesson was part of his inaugural visit to El Puente, on Milwaukee’s southside.

Kaye introduced himself – mentioning that participation could earn candy along the way – and then he shared with the 13 students why a family member long ago implored him to get involved in the lives of others.

“I’m here because, 35 years ago, someone taught me about this, someone came into my life to teach me about money,” Kaye said.

The class, called New Student Seminar, brought together students from all four high school grade levels on a range of in-school and real-world learning. Educator Tim Steen, in his first year at El Puente, called the financial education lessons “important” and “interesting” for his students.

Jasmin, 16, a junior, sat front and center for the lesson, flanked by two friends. She took copious notes and chimed in with more than a few questions and gut reactions. Just two students responded to Kaye that they had a bank account. Jasmin had a suspicion why saving through a bank account was safer than stashing money around your house: “you just can’t trust your mattress!”

Students perked up most during a section on online banking and mobile payments. This was all new to Jasmin, and she rolled off a stream-of-consciousness spate of questions to her two friends and Kaye.

“You can send money with (Facebook) Messenger? Oh, my Lord, I might delete those apps now,” Jasmin said.

Outside of the lesson, Kaye reflected on how students gravitate toward financial lessons, no matter where they live or what school they’re at.

“The closer they get to graduating, it’s real,” Kaye said. “It’s, you know, months away, weeks away, until they’re … expected to start living on their own, living their own life.”

Interested in volunteering at new schools with great students like Jasmin? Click here to check out available opportunities for existing volunteers.

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