Volunteer Spotlight: Bob Cange
(JA Volunteer of Year, Bob Cange teaches high school students how to budget at Mission Fed JA Finance Park)
We are delighted to recognize Bob Cange as one of the outstanding "JA Volunteers of the Year." Thank you Bob for making difference with your passion, dedication, and expertise to the youth we serve at Misson Fed JA Finance Park. To celebrate the successful 2016-2017 school year, we caught up with Bob to chat about his motivations and experiences to serve as a volunteer with Junior Achievement.
Why do you support JA?
Junior Achievement is a fantastic organization of amazing people and phenomenal programs. The key word for me with all JA programs is: PRACTICAL. This is practical, everyday financial knowledge that is simply not taught in the classrooms. The JA programs are absolutely essential to providing our children, our students with practical financial information to help them succeed and be financially responsible adults.
Is it important to provide San Diego students with financial literacy education?
It is extremely important. Often this is the most forgotten topic by parents when raising their kids and it is certainly forgotten here in California by our school systems. California is unfortunately one of the worst in the nation for not teaching financial literacy to our students, a fact which makes utilizing these JA programs all the more urgent and important. JA programs connect the classroom to the real world and to the needs, expectations, and opportunities of the workplace after high school graduation. These programs are specifically designed to produce financially-aware and financially-responsible adults.
Does Mission Fed JA Finance Park provide students with skills to make smart decisions after high school?
Absolutely!! The Finance Park program is ingeniously crafted to make the students see clearly the impact of their gross income, federal and state taxes, college debt, and of supporting a family. By combining all of these factors into day-to-day, very real-world decisions of ‘needs versus wants,’ the Finance Park budgeting simulation forces the student to evaluate and to prioritize financial choices that are exactly what they will face in a few years as working adults. As a result, students can more clearly evaluate future career opportunities in the brighter light of what income that position is likely to provide and how much student debt might accompany it.
Why is it important to have parents volunteer at JA Finance Park?
Having parents volunteer at Finance Park connects the parents to the simulation, enabling younger and older generations to experience the program together. It is a real awakening for the students to hear these stories and life lessons from parents at Finance Park. Likewise, the parents love it; they feel and see that they are making sure this kind of vital information is being instilled in their children, their students.
Please share some of your favorite memories from serving as a vounteer at JA Finance Park.
- "Gosh, these kids are expensive!” said one student, who had forgotten to account for his children in his budgeting and found he had to go back and re-do his budget to account for his two kids.
- The impact of taxes – one student exclaimed “What happened to my gross income? Why is it all of a sudden so much less and I haven’t even started the simulation?” We then had a very in-depth discussion about the impact of and the purposes for federal, state, social security and Medicare taxes.
- “Now I know what my parents are talking about…” the student clarified that he now understood better when his parents talk about ‘making ends meet’ and making tough choices for what they can afford now versus saving for the future. “I want to talk to my parents about this” – I asked the student to clarify for me and she said, “I understand my parents better now. I want to ask them if they are doing this budgeting at home.