Volunteer Spotlight: Jade Hendricks and Shameka Moore
Two Messmer grads are teaming up as Money Coach volunteers to bring financial empowerment to a new generation of Messmer students
“It’s so weird to be back – but in a good way!”
After college in Tennessee and the beginning of her professional career in Chicago, Jade Hendricks is back in Milwaukee and returning to her alma mater, Messmer High School. This time, she’s here in a new role: as a Money Coach for SecureFutures.
“I’m re-establishing my roots here as an adult and trying to get involved, and SecureFutures aligns with what I want to do outside of my career,” Jade said. “When the opportunity came to volunteer at Messmer, I knew I had to get here and give back to the school that made me who I am today.”
Messmer is a longtime and committed partner of SecureFutures. The school places a significant focus on financial education, thanks in large part to educator and financial literacy champion Chris Nienhaus, who facilitates the Money Coach program at Messmer.
“The opportunities that I’ve been afforded by being a student here, growing and learning and taking leadership roles, really has shaped me into the professional that I am, the family member, the mentor that I am,” Jade said.
As she remembers being a Messmer student herself, Jade values the opportunity to return in an educator role.
“To give back to the students and hopefully use my experiences to give them some insight, coming from somebody who literally sat in these same seats, is more than I could ask for.”
Jade’s professional career is in financial services, starting in wealth management and now working in private real estate. She has always been committed to using her expertise to give back.
While living in Chicago, Jade taught personal finance to professional women’s groups. She came to the realization that high school students would benefit profoundly from this same knowledge. After moving to Milwaukee, she specifically researched organizations that provide financial education to high school students, and resonated with the SecureFutures mission.
“Everybody deserves to understand money and to be able to use it wisely. It’s that tool that we all need to lead our lives. Just understanding why it’s important to be aware of what’s going on with your finances, how those basic skills translate, can make a world of difference.”
Last semester, Jade volunteered for Money Coach at Vincent High School, and also taught Money Sense at Pearls for Teen Girls and the Boys and Girls Club. She has remained connected with some of her past Money Coach mentees, sending them scholarship information, answering questions about college apps, and cheering them on as they work towards their future.
“I think it just makes a difference to know that somebody actually cares and is willing to help in whatever capacity they can – students appreciate that,” Jade said.
Jade is joined on her Money Coach volunteer team at Messmer by Shameka Moore, who is also a Messmer grad.
“It’s very rewarding!” Shameka said. “I always wanted to come back. Seeing some of my old teachers here is a blessing. They get to see how I grew up with some of the obstacles I had coming to Messmer. Now I get to impact those same students who may experience some of the things that I’ve experienced.”
For Shameka growing up, money was connected to many of the hardships she faced. She knows this resonates with some of the students she is now guiding through Money Coach at Messmer, and tries to connect what she’s teaching to her own past.
“Many times when people think of money they think of struggle, at least from the community I came from,” Shameka said. “I always tell them, to relate to them, this is what I went through when I was in school, letting them know that you can come out from whatever you’re going through, because I’m a testament to that.”
Shameka has worked professionally as a financial and life coach, and now has her own management consulting firm, which focuses specifically on youth entrepreneurship. She sees her volunteer work at SecureFutures as an extension of her personal mission of youth financial empowerment.
“My heart’s desire is really with youth. My focus is really to impact the students, impact those who may have never been taught how to be an effective adult in society.”
What Shameka appreciates most about SecureFutures’ approach to teen financial education is the integration of financial understanding with their broader life goals.
“I really love what SecureFutures is doing in the community. It not only deals with their finances, it deals with their life, and even their purpose,” Shameka said. “Although I talk to them about their finances, I integrate about purpose: what do you dream to do? What are you passionate about? It’s not only about saving and investing. That’s important, that’s a vehicle, but ultimately that’s going to fund what you’re destined to do.”