JA Volunteer Spotlight: Bob Daniel
(Bob Daniel educating students at Mission Fed JA Finance Park)
Bob Daniel is a dedicated volunteer for Junior Achievement. He believes in JA’s mission to empower young people own their economic success. He has shared his career success and financial knowledge to nearly 800 high school students this year through the Mission Fed JA Finance Park program.
Daniel started his fruitful career as an eager IBM salesman nearly two decades ago in Canada. His success and determination scored him senior management positions with two Fortune 500 and two Fortune 100 corporations.
Bob recently retired from Hilco Real Estate Auctions. His background in finances and loan management are a perfect fit for the students learning about career and financial success at JA Finance Park.
We are delighted to recognize Bob as one of our outstanding volunteers to celebrate Volunteer Appreciation. Thank you for making difference with your passion, dedication, and expertise to the youth we serve at Misson Fed JA Finance Park. JA caught up with Bob to chat about his motivations and experiences to serve as a volunteer with Junior Achievement:
How did you get involved with JA?
My passion is to positively impact high school students. I feel they need programs like Finance Park to help them prepare and compete in today’s global workforce.
A friend of mine, Alan Spector, is on the Board at JA. He suggested I visit the McGrath Family JA Biztown and Finance Park. I was blown away by the valuable lessons students learn from their experiences at JA.
What is your interest in Finance Park?
The goal of the program appealed to me. It is critical young people today get some form of financial literacy education. Once I had volunteered a few times with Martha Philips and her remarkable team, I found myself really enjoying working with the high school students and guiding them to make lifelong financial decisions to help succeed beyond the classroom. It is very rewarding for me.
What surprises did you encounter?
First, the sophistication of the program at Finance Park – it’s magnificent. Second, the general limited outlook that high school seniors have about what they’re about to face when they hit the working world and start earning money. That was surprising.
What was a particularly rewarding lesson you have helped teach?
When the students are assigned a credit card balance they just chose to make the minimum monthly payment. But once they understood the implications of that, they quickly changed their tune. If they had the “money” in their budget based on their "fictional family" during the simulation, they either payed it off, or payed significantly more than the minimum monthly requirement.
At the end of the session, I was asking open and reflective questions about credit cards and debt. It is clear to me that they were able to grasp credit card debt and the negative consequences. I feel great pride in helping students prevent mistakes I have made.