Volunteers Speak: Kim Schmoldt Pays Her Success Forward
In 2014, Kim Schmoldt’s friend asked her to volunteer for SecureFutures in a LEAD to Succeed classroom. Schmoldt jumped at the opportunity to share her skills so that young people could learn from her experience and success. At the time, Schmoldt was well-versed in financial literacy on a personal level – to this day she has little debt tand she credits that to knowledge, hard work, and a little bit of luck.
“One of the lessons I am really passionate about teaching,” says Schmoldt, “is about the cost of college and making smart decisions about where you go to school. Teens are marketed to so strongly to take out student loans, and then they wind up with mounds of debt with no way to get out of it.”
When Schmoldt graduated high school, she landed an internship with Direct Supply, where she has been for the past twelve years. Thanks to her own financial literacy skills, scholarships, and a lot of hard work, Schmoldt has experienced success without the help of student loans. She graduated summa cum laude on top of a full-time job, and even had some money saved up by the time she left college. With those savings, and the help of a first time homeowner tax credit available at the time, she and her husband purchased a duplex in 2010. The rented space supported their mortgage and this purchase launched them into the real-estate business. Schmoldt closed on her first commercial property in March. “I’ve made so many real estate transactions at this point, where many people my age haven’t even made one – often due to their struggles with student loan debt.”
Schmoldt said she loved volunteering with SecureFutures. “The after-school time slot worked well around my full-time hours, and the students at LEAD to Succeed all had jobs and were receiving paychecks.” It’s been an important aspect of Schmoldt’s life to pass on the information she has used so wisely. “SecureFutures was the first program I came across that really supports young people actively understanding the choices they can make. Teens often don’t understand that they have the power to make their own financial decisions, and the marketing targeted towards high school graduates is too often not in their best interest. It’s monumental to allow students to take a pause and think ‘hold up… this doesn’t make sense.’”
Since her time volunteering, Schmoldt has been busy with her job at Direct Supply, part-time real-estate business, and one-year-old son Grant. We are so glad she made the time to volunteer when she did. “If you can afford to give one hour of your time,” she adds, “the difference you can make in a young person’s life today can set them up for success for the rest of their life.”
To use your personal experiences to empower students to make sound financial decisions, learn more about our volunteer opportunities here.