Students speak: success stories from the ‘best year yet’ of Money Coach
Elliyah, Dunte, Dayana and Robert took the stage Wednesday to share their tales and takeaways from the personal finance mentoring program during the first of two “graduation” celebrations this school year. From a podium in the James Madison Academic Campus auditorium, each of the four students put their spin on the impact of Money Coach as part of a celebration that also included awards, networking and food.
Elliyah, a senior at JMAC, shared a poem that reflected on the skills she’s learned and people she’s met through Money Coach. Then, she put the program in a wider perspective than its budget and expense workbooks. (Elliyah is pictured below from another part of the event earlier in the evening.)
“It offers more than what they’re teaching. You get these interactions and next thing you know, you’re networking, you get to meet people who you thought you’d never connect with. Money Coach impacts you financially but also mentally.”
Dunte, a senior at Bradley Tech H.S. (pictured above, wearing a bandana and next to his Money Coach, Rebecca Neumann), on finding a college that fits his goals, and his budget: “Money Coach is helping me make the right decision to keep myself out of debt. So, even though I might want to do this and go to this college, that college might not give me the amount of financial aid that I want. So, I’ll go to a different one because then I’ll be less in debt after college.”
Later, Dunte said of his one-on-one coach, Rebecca Neumann: “I want to be a teacher and she’s a teacher. By her volunteering, that shows me that’s what I want to do. I want to help other people, like she helped me.”
Dayana, senior at Carmen H.S. of Science and Technology – South, began her talk by “congratulating her fellow Money Coach peers on their graduation” and thanking “Chris, Mary and Jeff,” her volunteer coaches.
One helpful trick she’s learned from Money Coach is the ease with which she can stay on top of her budget with an app on her phone.
“By keeping track of my expenses, I have changed my habits and spend half as much money on food than I used to. I learned to pay myself first.”
Robert, a senior at Hmong American Peace Academy (HAPA), was decked out in a suit share with his fellow Money Coach students how he’s changed from having “less than $10 in my bank account, and sometimes less than that.”
“I lived a money spending life. This all changed when I joined Money Coach, where I learned, first, to create a budget and second to save. Those aren’t the only two skills that I learned, but I’ve found them to be two of the most valuable skills that I inherited.
“I had never budgeted and tracked my expenses before but when I figured out how to budget, how to save this caused me to realize I don’t have to live paycheck-to-paycheck, by saving mindfully.”
As part of the celebration of the dozens of students in attendance from across Milwaukee and Waukesha, special awards were given out. Those honors included top coach, top educator, the Brenda W. Campbell Award (for a fantastic but maybe “under-the-radar” student), as well as one top student from each site.
Coach of the Year: Dejunae Smith (Guaranty Bank)
Educator of the Year: Dr. Virginia Lynch (JMAC)
Brenda Campbell Award: Emilia Frank (New Horizons)
Bradley Tech: Dunte
Carmen – South: Andy
Messmer H.S.: Amya
New Horizons: Ethan
St. Anthony: Joanna
Washington H.S. of I.T.: Jonisha
Waukesha East H.S.: Maria
A new semester of Money Coach is already underway. To hear more about the student, volunteers and sites of this one-of-a-kind financial mentoring program, visit this page.