Tag Archives: Volunteer

Volunteer Spotlight: Mike May

Master Financial Education Volunteer Mike May

Master Financial Education Volunteer Mike May

Each month Extension’s financial education program is profiling an outstanding volunteer. To nominate someone, please email Megan Kuhn at Megan.Kuhn@vt.edu.

Name: Mike May
Lives: Reston
Works: Financial Advisor for more than 30 years
Mike May has volunteered as a Master Financial Education Volunteer since 2012. This summer he developed a new Extension presentation about the best time to claim social security benefits.

Q. What would people be surprised to learn about you?
A. I spent the first 13 years of my life overseas because my father was in the State Department. I had to learn how to adapt to a bunch of cultures. It was a great, liberal education.

Q. Where was the most interesting place you lived?
A: Pretoria, South Africa. There was a game preserve, and we spent a lot of time going through listening to the roaring lions. It was an experience I’ll never forget.

The main thing I learned from living overseas was how to deal with different types of people. After South Africa I moved to Fiji, Hawaii and Sydney, Australia. If you don’t learn to adapt you won’t do so well.

Q. Why is financial education important?
A. It’s life changing. I’ve had people say to me, “I’ve never had a budget before, but now I feel I’m in control of my finances rather than my finances in control of me.” It was simply because I’d taught them how to set up a budget.

Q: What prompted you to create a new class for us?
A: In the past I directed people to the Social Security Administration’s website because their website is straightforward. But my financial advising clients who are baby boomers kept asking about social security. When I took a class titled Savvy Social Security Planning Strategies for Baby Boomers, I realized there was a lot more to know about social security. I initially went to the class for my work clients, but I want to get this information out to everyone.

Q. Why do you volunteer?
A. I want to get out the information. I teach 10 Baby Steps to Financial Freedom at my church. It’s usually attended by folks in their 20s and 30s who are just getting started in life financially. I just wish when I was that young that I had been told some of the things I’ve been able to tell young people.

The same thing is true for my volunteering with Extension. Folks are looking for help and don t necessarily have the money to pay for a financial advisor. They’re looking for objective, good counsel.

Q. We trained new volunteers in August and September. What advice would you give to our new volunteers?
A: Really pay attention to the instructor and the materials given out. Then do additional research to add to and enhance what the basic materials are. Google budgeting and do some independent study so you feel more confident.

Volunteer Spotlight: Donna Brazier

Each month Extension’s financial education program is profiling an outstanding volunteer. To nominate someone, please email Megan Kuhn at megan81@vt.edu.

Name: Donna Brazier
Lives: Alexandria
Works: Financial Management Consultant and Trainer, Retired Foreign Service Officer for U.S. AID

Donna Brazier has volunteered as a Master Financial Education Volunteer since 2009. She and Desiree Kaul recently provided training for social workers. The training provided case workers with information and materials to use with their clients as they help them to resolve their financial problems.

Q. What would people be surprised to learn about you?
A. I love to cook. I love to bake.

Q. What is your go-to recipe?
A. Lasagna.

Q. What was your most interesting overseas posting?
A. Even though I’m retired, I still take contract assignments. I went to Madagascar between 2010 and 2011. It was one of the poorest countries I’ve been to, but one of the most beautiful. It was the first time I saw Jacaranda trees in full bloom. They have pink flowers.

Q. What is your favorite thing to save for?
A. Trips.

Q. What is your favorite splurge?
A. I’ll splurge on travel, and I love perfume.

Q. Why do you volunteer?
A. It bothers me how people are taken advantage of for not knowing about finances.

Q. What has your experience been as a volunteer?
A. One of the most positive experiences I had was teaching financial literacy at the Alexandria Community Shelter. I had a woman cry, “had I talked to you a year ago, I wouldn’t be in the shelter.” People appreciate what I’m trying to do.

Q. What’s been the biggest challenge as a volunteer?
A. Working with one-on-one clients because they don’t always show up, and working with people who don’t want the help.

Q. What keeps you motivated?
A. I know there is a need. I know I’m helping. I also do different things. There are many ways to help: teaching classes, training social workers, counseling clients one-on-one and taking continuing education.

Alexandria Parks & Recreation Power On! & Power Up! with 4-H

Alexandria 4-H and Alexandria Recreation Power-On & Power-Up Programs partner to offer 4-H educational opportunities to the participants of these out of school time programs. Power-On & Power-Up programs sites are located in recreation centers and schools throughout the city of Alexandria. Students participate in a wide range of activities from creative and performing arts to fitness and health, all designed to provide a safe and wholesome atmosphere for youth to thrive in during the hours directly following dismissal from school. On Wednesday October 16, 2013 representatives from each of the programming sites assembled at Mt. Vernon Recreation Center to learn what it takes to be a 4-H after-school leader. Training attendees completed a variety of hands on activities and discussed several different ways to implement 4-H programming at their site. Alexandria 4-H looks forward to continuing this working relationship with Alexandria Parks, Recreation & Cultural Activities and expanding the reach of the program to a new audience. IMG_20131016_173537_723