[Noozhawk’s note: One in a series on Santa Barbara Partners in Education volunteers. This article is sponsored by AT&T Foundation, a Partners in Education President’s Council member.]
Contributing to career days and regularly guest speaking in junior high and high school classrooms are just a few ways that Chris Janeway involves himself with the Santa Barbara Partners in Education Volunteer Recruitment and Coordination Program. As a financial adviser for PlanMember Financial Corp., Janeway volunteers his time with the nonprofit Partners in Education, which is administered by the Santa Barbara County Education Office, to teach students valuable lessons about smart investing, credit card use, financial planning and more.
Janeway was a student at UC Berkeley when realized he wanted to pursue a profession that involved helping people. He decided that helping people to make smart decisions with their finances could have a positive impact on many lives, and his career path began to take shape.
As a Santa Barbara native and an alumnus of San Marcos High School, Janeway said he knew he wanted to give back to the Santa Barbara community as a volunteer.
“I knew that I wanted to come back to Santa Barbara to start my career,” he said. “Once I started working here, many of my clients, who are educators, encouraged me to become involved with Partners in Education.”
Once Janeway began to share his knowledge of finance with the community, he realized how much the right information could really help people make smart decisions with their money and to, ultimately, plan for the future.
“With today’s economy and in today’s job market, it is extremely important for kids to have a head start,” Janeway explained. “Having a leg up on their finances can really help (them) in the long run. It is especially important for high school seniors, who will be heading off to college in the next year, to understand how credit cards work, among other things.”
Most classes do not provide students with the opportunity to learn about money and smart investments. Partners in Education hopes to fill the void with knowledgeable volunteers like Janeway, who firmly believes in the importance of educating young people on the “Do’s and Don’ts” of money-related decisions.
“When I work with students, of any grade level, I hope to help them build a starting point for their financial life,” he said. “When I leave the classroom, I want to have created the context for them to start understanding their financial decisions and learn how they may affect their lives in the long term.
“Educating our youth on how to build financial success before they leave the K-12 system gives them a healthy start and the ability to avoid many of the mistakes that prior generations may have made,” he added. “Financial Literacy is key to their success in today’s world.”
Janeway’s commitment to student success reflects his strong belief in the power of volunteering. He stresses the importance of professionals donating their time to teach students certain skills that are not available in traditional classrooms, which eventually lead to a stronger community.
“Engaging the resources of our workforce as volunteers is vital to our community and its schools,” he said. “When volunteers provide their insight and knowledge in the classroom, we’re supporting students’ development and sparking interests in career fields they may never have known.
“Volunteers are able to engage and participate in our schools, and students are exposed to and engaged in the possibilities of their future — all of which builds a better sense of community and prepares our youth for what lies ahead.”
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— Michaela Ford is a senior at Santa Barbara High School and a Santa Barbara Partners in Education intern through the Partners Job Readiness & Internship Program. Partners in Education programs are administered under the Santa Barbara County Education Office.