Volunteer Spotlight: Justin Borges
As SecureFutures looks ahead to its 15th program year, something special is happening: SecureFutures program graduates are returning to volunteer, looking to offer the next generation of teens the financial education that set them on the path to success.
Justin Borges went through the Money Sense program at Audubon High School in 2012. This year, he volunteered for SecureFutures for the first time, at New Berlin West and Ronald Reagan high schools.
“I remember the program being brought in by my teacher as a way to give us some foundation to financial literacy basics such as credit, banking & budgeting,” said Justin. “I remember learning without a doubt how powerful it was to make more than just the minimum payment on a credit card, stay away from payday loan stores, and that you should never pay a portion of your check to get your own money. I never forgot that.”
Justin’s foundation of financial knowledge was firmly established, and he ended up pursuing a career in finance. Currently a Universal Banker at Summit Credit Union, he is working towards his licensure as a financial advisor.
“I couldn’t help but feel as if it was time to give back to the community that birthed me, most importantly for that boy or girl that might need to hear the message from someone like me that could relate to the inner city,” Justin said. “I think financial education is important for teens because it is that stage in life that they are beginning to want independence from their parents, to spend money for shopping, movies, and hanging out with friends. That is when proper financial habits should be introduced.”
Justin feels that SecureFutures is unique because of the strength of its volunteers as well as the way its programs allow teens to apply what they’re learning.
“Students are getting taught from people who actually care and love what they do,” said Justin. “Not only that, kids in the program earn money throughout the program as they complete activities. Giving them something to work for, and also asking students to set up a bank account so their money can be direct deposited, is the first step in bridging that gap between the classroom and real life scenarios.”
Justin’s mentorship relationship with the students he has served has gone beyond the classroom, and they have continued to seek him out as a resource.
“The response from the students has been amazing,” Justin said. “We still communicate and they don’t hesitate to ask questions. They remind me so much of myself because there’s a lot of kids like me that needed to learn this information and wanted to learn it but never had an opportunity until Secure Futures.”
Justin plans to return as a volunteer as soon as programming resumes.
“It is my plan to be a part of Secure Futures in the near future and visit many more classrooms year after year,” Justin said. “Hopefully I can make a difference in someone’s life and their future is that much better because they had this course with me.”