April is Financial Literacy Month
April 25, 2023
By: Debby Isenhower
April is recognized as #FinancialLiteracyMonth and The Actuarial Foundation has many resources to help people of all ages brush up on their personal finance skills. Our Money Mentors program covers topics such as saving, budgeting, loans, and more! The Foundation’s own Debby Isenhower, who works with the Math Motivators and Money Mentors programs, shares how our volunteers explore financial empowerment and literacy with the students.
- How long have you been with Math Motivators and The Actuarial Foundation?
I’ve been employed by Math Motivators for a year and four months. I was hired on October 15, 2021.
- What do you find most rewarding about working with the tutors, students, and families?
I find many things rewarding with tutoring in general. As a Program Coordinator, I love seeing a mentorship develop between the tutor and the student. When hosting the Virtual Tutoring Center (VTC), I cycle though breakout rooms and hear the excitement in the students’ voices when telling their tutor something that had happened since they had met the week prior. I recently had a phone call from a VTC parent telling me that she had sat in on last week’s tutoring session and was so impressed with how the tutor handled the session and that her daughter is understanding math much better.
- What has surprised you most in running tutoring and mentorship programs?
I was surprised at how much work goes into the planning, the recruiting of tutors and students, the tracking of attendance and the facilitating of each session. It’s well worth the work involved to see the growth and confidence in the students.
- Can you tell us about your Money Mentors programs and how our volunteers explore financial empowerment and literacy?
I am currently in my third semester of facilitating the Money Mentors program with Simon Youth Academy, Shelbyville. The mentors join virtually through Zoom with the juniors and seniors in the classroom. I also attend the sessions in person. The tutors discuss various topics including spending plans, taxes, understanding your paystub, how to complete a W-4, credit and borrowing, interest, savings, investments, and insurance. In addition, the tutors share their knowledge about finance with the students. The students particularly like the investment module where they play Investopedia’s simulator game with “monopoly” money to buy stocks, and with their mentor, they monitor the progress over two months. The simulator features a contest with fun prizes to the top three portfolios.
- What is a challenge that can come up during tutoring, and how do you support the tutors with that challenge?
When working with schools there is always a possibility of technological issues, whether the students work on Chromebooks or iPads. When this happens, the classroom teacher and I troubleshoot and help the students get back on task.
- What are you excited about for the future of Math Motivators and Money Mentors?
I am excited to partner with other non-profits and schools to grow the programs in Indiana. There are so many underserved students that need help with math, and the further we expand in my city and state the more students we can help.
Find the financial literacy tools you need with Money Mentors.