Since I began my AmeriCorps term in October of 2015, I have come to learn a lot about the community in which I reside, volunteer, raise my family and plan on growing old. Being the mother of two teenage sons, I am incredibly aware of the need for financial literacy of our youth. However, it was not until my first meeting with a group of young ladies within the juvenile detention center that I came to realize that basic money management skills were not taught in every home.
During our first session of the Money Smart curriculum we began with basic personal finance. Speaking one-on-one with these young ladies made me realize that they had no idea how much they had to make to live the lifestyle they dreamt of, how to open and run a bank account or even how to cash a payroll check. These young ladies are within 2 years of legally becoming adults, so this was incredibly eye opening for me. Throughout the 8 week course, I was able to see major changes in the way these girls looked at their future employment opportunities, money management skills and overall comfortability with finances. They were all released from confinement with a better understanding of what they future paths may be and how to gain the things in life in which they dream of.
Although I have only been an AmeriCorps member for a few months, this short period of time has truly opened my eyes to what an impact a single person can have on their community. While I am already attending college, I have researched and decided to continue my education, further so, in an effort to gather the means to assist more of our youth in growing up to be successful members of our community. I feel that these life changes that I am making would not be possible without AmeriCorps offering me this incredible opportunity.
Mandy Barlow is an AmeriCorps member at City of Grand Haven Housing Neighborhood Services in Grand Haven.
This post is part of a blog series highlighting the viewpoints of Michigan AmeriCorps Foreclosure Prevention Corps members serving at different foreclosure host sites around Michigan. View information about the program or see more stories in this series.