Volunteer Spotlight: Jackie Schmidley

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After retirement and moving back to her hometown of Milwaukee, Jackie Schmidley knew she wanted to pursue volunteer opportunities. SecureFutures’ mission of financial literacy for teens caught her eye.

Jackie Schmidley

“Financial literacy is the foundation of life’s big decisions, and the day to day choices we all make,” Jackie said. “I think teens starting out with at least the basic knowledge about budgeting, banking, and borrowing will have the tools to be less impulsive and more thoughtful about their purchases and can build on that knowledge throughout their lives.”

This spring, Jackie dived into her first semester as a Money Coach volunteer.

“I was a bit nervous about coaching,” she said. “I wasn’t sure what to expect from the students. I wanted so much to connect and have them feel comfortable with me so they could have a great experience.”

According to her mentee Malachi, a Money Coach participant through Urban Underground, Jackie did just that.

“Jackie was an incredible coach,” Malachi said. “She makes it easy to open up, because she shares her experiences. She talks about other things too: how I’m doing, my family, things like that. We connected well, and that led me to get out of my comfort zone a lot faster.”

“I did my best to really listen to them and take a genuine interest in them as unique individuals. That’s what I brought to each of our conversations and was delighted how much I was able to get to know them,” said Jackie. “Through building that raport, I felt they opened up to learning and participating. I really looked forward to our weekly one-on-ones and I think the students did too!”

In addition to guiding teens through the development of money management skills like budgeting and saving, Jackie took an interest in their future career goals.

One of her students was interested in going to college, but had concerns about affording tuition and was considering joining the army reserves. Jackie was able to connect the teen to two reservists, both recent college graduates, who met with her, answered her questions, and shared about their experiences.

Malachi had shared with Jackie that he was interested in computer engineering and software development. Jackie connected him with a family member who works in programming.

“Malachi came to the virtual meeting prepared with excellent questions. He left with some great information, resources for online training and a genuine connection,” Jackie said. “While connecting students with others who will help them learn more about their career interests is not an expectation of Money Coaches, it just came naturally to want to reach out to some awesome people in my life who I knew would love to share their experiences and felt blessed to pay it forward.”

Jackie plans to continue to volunteer for SecureFutures, and encourages others to do the same.

“Every adult has something to share around the topic of financial literacy because we all have first hand life experience,” she said. “I would definitely encourage anyone considering volunteering to get off the sidelines and give it a try!”