[Noozhawk’s note: One in a series on Santa Barbara Partners in Education volunteers. This article is sponsored by ABC-CLIO, a Partners in Education President’s Council member.]
Brenda Powell, like many other Santa Barbara professionals, has recently discovered the joy of volunteering in the public schools through Santa Barbara Partners in Education. As a co-owner of Collins & Powell Insurance Services, Powell’s knowledge of economics and finance makes her the perfect candidate for speaking with students about how they can best plan and prepare for success in higher education and professional careers.
Powell strives to connect with the students while volunteering, and says she hopes to help them realize their goals and plan a strategic way to achieve them.
When working with students, Powell stresses the importance of planning financial decisions to come up with a rational way to achieve their goals.
“Everything revolves around economics these days,” she explained. “Money is required to pay for school, start your career, and many more things. I hope to help students become aware of their goals and then help them figure out the cost of reaching those goals.”
Powell helps students to realize the importance of career planning in relation to economics.
“Often times, economics can make or break success,” she said. “I hope to teach students the importance of financial planning and recognizing the need to spend money to make money.”
Volunteering has been a very “gratifying” experience for Powell, she said, and she strongly encourages other professionals to get involved.
“Many times schools won’t have the money to hire someone to speak and to inform students of possible career opportunities,” she said. “By volunteering, we assist the local schools and we ultimately help students to be the best they can be. After all, these kids are our future (workforce).”
Powell emphasizes the necessity and importance of volunteering, especially during the economic downturn.
“The state of our economy has negatively affected all industries, in regards to funding sources,” she said. “Through education, knowledge is created, and knowledge is power. Through volunteering, we can fill the gaps that the lack of funds has created.”
Many teachers have embraced Powell as a volunteer in their classrooms.
Deborah Reid, a teacher at La Colina Junior High School, described Powell as “Absolutely fantastic!”
“Her enthusiasm (is) contagious,” she said. “I highly encourage her to find more opportunities to speak with students.”
Powell’s enthusiasm for volunteer work allows her to connect with students in a genuine way. She said she hopes to create a sense of individuality in each student with whom she works.
“My desire is to encourage students to believe that they each are created for a specific purpose, to commit to seek that purpose without fear, but with vigor and, thus, they will experience their greatest joys,” she said. “Their joy will flow through themselves, therefore positively impacting the world around them.”
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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.