When I first started looking for internships during undergrad, candidly, I was not excited by anything out there. All the business opportunities looked painfully similar. Stay with me, this is a happy story. What caught my eye during research for job fairs were the firms that heavily demonstrated their commitment to community. While it is pretty common nowadays to champion community involvement, what is less common is sincere passion backing those snapshots of community events.
Nearly every time I spoke with a representative of a company, I heard the same message: ‘Community service is great! We have one event each year that we rally behind and blast on social media. Other than that, not much else goes on.’ Disappointing… that is until I stumbled upon Vanguard’s My Classroom Economy, which is a program that enables educators to teach children financial responsibility through experiential learning.
From the multiple interviews to the first day of my internship at Vanguard, everyone I asked about My Classroom Economy indicated it was an ongoing, substantial operation: a mini-business within the business. Comprised of project teams, ambassador roles, as well as leaders for the work streams, this organization was solving a problem known all too well among my generation: a lack of financial literacy. Throughout college, in casual conversations or classroom debate, I heard the common lamentation from my peers: Why were we taught about geometric shapes but never received any sort of training/instruction on critical financial concepts, such as budgeting? Even social media comically points out the irony in a lack of ‘parallelogram season’ and searing reality of tax season. My Classroom Economy is not only fighting for an admirable cause, but also offers many opportunities to build leadership, project management, and relationship-building skills. I wanted in!
Fast forward through my senior year of college, my first full year of employment with Vanguard, and to steadily increasing my involvement with My Classroom Economy. Today, I serve as Project Manager for two expansions of the program, My Home and My Group Economy. My role in My Classroom Economy has helped me just as much as it’s helped our community.