Director – SEC Reporting & Policies, Regency Centers
Joanne has been volunteering with Junior Achievement’s JA Girl$ program for about five years. In August she brought JA’s money management programs to girls at Divine Mercy House, a christian maternity home for single women facing unexpected pregnancies.
How did you learn of the opportunity to get involved?
I met Elizabeth [Paulson, JA Girl$ Program Director] at a networking luncheon in which she stood up, introduced herself and the JAGirl$ program. It was just the two-minute elevator speech but it worked. It made me so excited about the program that I made a point to find her after the luncheon, introduce myself, and make sure I got involved.
Why did you want to volunteer at Divine Mercy House?
I grew up in a comfortable loving home but once my parents divorced, our economic status changed immediately. Although my father paid child support and my mom was (and still is) a tremendously hard worker, she had only a high school diploma and we lived in a very small town.
I watched her struggle to support us, which taught me a lot of lessons, including how important it is to be self-sufficient and in control of your finances.
What do you hope the girls at Divine Mercy House take away from your time with them?
The lessons covered in the JAGirl$ program at Divine Mercy House are so relevant to the ladies since they are at a critical point in their lives.
We do the budgeting lesson and each of the ladies prepares their own budget based on their expected income and expenses when they move out. In the lesson about insurance, we talk a lot about life insurance, the affordable and practical options, and thinking about and documenting who they would like to raise their babies if something were to happen to them.
The ladies at Divine Mercy House have a lot of challenges ahead of them with a new baby. But they also have an amazing blessing and a reason to be motivated to stay on top of their finances and make something of themselves.
I hope the lessons and discussions help them think about, establish and live with a disciplined financial plan so they can focus on being good moms to their new babies.
To learn how you can make a difference in girls’ lives like Joanne is doing, or to become a volunteer, please visit our website at jajax.com.
$mart Women Make Change is Junior Achievement’s annual fundraising luncheon to benefit the JA Girl$ program. This year’s keynote speaker is Coca-Cola racing family member Danica Patrick. The event takes place October 23rd from Noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Florida Blue Conference Center. More information and tickets can be found here.