Joanne had an idea.
While volunteering with colleagues at United Way’s Women’s Job Seminar, Joanne saw how easy it was to use her financial expertise as a budget coach for families in need.
Joanne, an Executive Vice President at Marine Bank (a branch of CIBM Bank) in Waukesha, saw first-hand how her co-workers loved using their professional skills to help attendees, and decided to seek out United Way’s VP of Volunteer Engagement, Jayne Thoma.
“Jayne,” said Joanne, “Marine Bank and United Way should partner to do more sessions around financial wellness.”
“Oh my gosh,” said Jayne, “I’ve been thinking the same thing!”
Within months, this simple idea blossomed into the Financial Empowerment Seminar. United Way spread the word through their agency partners and Joanne got to work recruiting her colleagues to volunteer. “It was easy,” reflects Joanne. “I take pride in working with people who enjoy using their talents to make a positive difference in the lives of others.”
In 2016, United Way volunteers spent more than 30,000 hours in service to our community. Many of those volunteers used their professional talents to improve the lives of others.
Attendees of the Financial Empowerment Seminar, held in partnership with La Casa de Esperanza, heard stories from community members about how financial coaching had changed their lives for the better, then paired up with a volunteer budget coach to start on their own journeys to financial wellness. Building attendees’ confidence and empowering them to take charge of their finances was a major goal of the event for Marine Bank.
Volunteers also felt positive returns. “As an individual who came out of school with little knowledge of how to handle my finances, I know what it’s like to be in a tough financial situation,” says John Osorio, a Marine Bank employee and volunteer. “I’m so glad I can share my knowledge with those in need of help and encouragement.”
“Volunteering humbles me, reminding me of all I take for granted in life,” said Julie Berg, another Marine Bank volunteer. “I’m thankful for the opportunity to support those asking for help.”
“Volunteering is a great way to see a financial donation in action,” says Jayne Thoma. “Time and again, volunteers tell us that they got even more out of their experience than they feel they gave. The benefits of volunteering are truly endless.”
Since the seminar, Joanne and her colleagues have had several conversations about what they learned and their plans for future volunteering. Marine Bank is supportive of their employees taking time for community service because, as Joanne puts it, “through volunteering we grow in our own ways, help others, and experience the great feeling of teamwork.”
“When individuals have had first-hand experience to see and feel the power of their time and talent,” reflects Joanne, “undoubtedly, our employees are touched by the experience and will spread the word!”
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