Success Stories: Money Mentors

Champaign, Ford, McLean, and Vermilion county residents have a resource to assist in building strong financial knowledge and good practices through a new program called Money Mentors. Money Mentors teaches individual community members the basics of personal money management through one-on-one mentoring. Money Mentors also offers outreach programs with informational displays at community events and other financial education projects.

In August 2013, University of Illinois Extension Unit #13 started recruiting volunteers to be trained as Money Mentors. Four training session have occurred since then. As of November 2014, 55 volunteers have completed the 30 hours of training through University of Illinois Extension to become a Money Mentor. Upon completion of training; the mentors begin working with community members known as mentees, individuals that have requested assistance with their personal finances. Money Mentors continue their training through monthly meetings and additional study.

April W.’s mother suggested that she check into a program called Money Mentors in the fall of 2013. April said she attended the first meeting to satisfy her mother, but soon realized there was valuable information that would greatly improve the way she managed her limited budget.

“This program has made a difference in my life. It has taught me a lot about finances and helpful resources available in the community. I enjoy the program and feel it is very beneficial. I have told my friends about it and know a lot of them could really use the coping skills and learn from other people’s experiences,” April W., Money Matters Mentee.

Kathy Sweedler, Consumer Economics Educator with University of Illinois Extension, trains the Money Mentors in Champaign and Vermilion counties. “Our Money Mentors care tremendously about helping others – and they are what make this program work! In less than one year, the Mentors spent a total of approximately 600 volunteer hours, including over 250 hours of Mentor/Mentee volunteer time.”

Gale Gallagher learned about the Money Mentors program in a News Gazette article in the summer of 2013 and was in the first training session to become a mentor. Gale is a Certified Public Accountant and graduate of the University of Illinois Accountancy Department. Now retired, Gale said, “Being a mentor is self-satisfying and very gratifying.” Gale advises her mentees, “Tracking expenses is the most essential positive change and the most difficult.” Gale said “she enjoys mentoring and providing information and resources to give her mentees a new perspective on how to handle finances.” Gale typically meets with her mentees once a month.

Kevin Luther has a financial background and works with a drug store company as a district manager. A passion for volunteering and finances brought Kevin to become a Money Mentor. Kevin said, “I like people and I like helping people. I also have a strong passion for budgeting and helping others realize discipline in finances, so I have made this one of my hobbies.”

“The most important lesson to remember is, don’t be afraid to ask for help, the strongest people are the ones that realize they need help and are not afraid to ask for it.” Kevin Luther, Money Mentor.

Community members that are interested in receiving help with basic money management may contact their local University of Illinois Extension office.

“Working with Kevin of the Money Mentor program has been a blessing. Exploring my personality, habits, and values on money is both challenging and empowering. Recommended resources, information, books, and support have become foundational in my aspirations of attaining financial freedom and stability.” Shanelle B., Money Mentor Mentee.

To access the mentees current financial awareness and practices they are asked to complete a survey prior and following the mentoring sessions to analyze the benefits of the mentoring program. The Extension staff assigns the mentor to the mentee. Mentees may meet with their Money Mentor as many times as necessary to achieve financial knowledge and develop plans to manage their personal finances with no cost to meet one-on-one. Money Mentors provides financial strategies and education on topics such as budgeting; building savings; establishing financial goals; managing credit; and organizing finances.

Champaign, Ford, McLean, and Vermilion county residents have a resource to assist in building strong financial knowledge and good practices through a new program called Money Mentors. Money Mentors teaches individual community members the basics of personal money management through one-on-one mentoring. Money Mentors also offers outreach programs with informational displays at community events and other financial education projects.

In August 2013, University of Illinois Extension Unit #13 started recruiting volunteers to be trained as Money Mentors. Four training session have occurred since then. As of November 2014, 55 volunteers have completed the 30 hours of training through University of Illinois Extension to become a Money Mentor. Upon completion of training; the mentors begin working with community members known as mentees, individuals that have requested assistance with their personal finances. Money Mentors continue their training through monthly meetings and additional study.

April W.’s mother suggested that she check into a program called Money Mentors in the fall of 2013. April said she attended the first meeting to satisfy her mother, but soon realized there was valuable information that would greatly improve the way she managed her limited budget.

“This program has made a difference in my life. It has taught me a lot about finances and helpful resources available in the community. I enjoy the program and feel it is very beneficial. I have told my friends about it and know a lot of them could really use the coping skills and learn from other people’s experiences,” April W., Money Matters Mentee.

Kathy Sweedler, Consumer Economics Educator with University of Illinois Extension, trains the Money Mentors in Champaign and Vermilion counties. “Our Money Mentors care tremendously about helping others – and they are what make this program work! In less than one year, the Mentors spent a total of approximately 600 volunteer hours, including over 250 hours of Mentor/Mentee volunteer time.”

Gale Gallagher learned about the Money Mentors program in a News Gazette article in the summer of 2013 and was in the first training session to become a mentor. Gale is a Certified Public Accountant and graduate of the University of Illinois Accountancy Department. Now retired, Gale said, “Being a mentor is self-satisfying and very gratifying.” Gale advises her mentees, “Tracking expenses is the most essential positive change and the most difficult.” Gale said “she enjoys mentoring and providing information and resources to give her mentees a new perspective on how to handle finances.” Gale typically meets with her mentees once a month.

Kevin Luther has a financial background and works with a drug store company as a district manager. A passion for volunteering and finances brought Kevin to become a Money Mentor. Kevin said, “I like people and I like helping people. I also have a strong passion for budgeting and helping others realize discipline in finances, so I have made this one of my hobbies.”

“The most important lesson to remember is, don’t be afraid to ask for help, the strongest people are the ones that realize they need help and are not afraid to ask for it.” Kevin Luther, Money Mentor.

Community members that are interested in receiving help with basic money management may contact their local University of Illinois Extension office.

“Working with Kevin of the Money Mentor program has been a blessing. Exploring my personality, habits, and values on money is both challenging and empowering. Recommended resources, information, books, and support have become foundational in my aspirations of attaining financial freedom and stability.” Shanelle B., Money Mentor Mentee.

To access the mentees current financial awareness and practices they are asked to complete a survey prior and following the mentoring sessions to analyze the benefits of the mentoring program. The Extension staff assigns the mentor to the mentee. Mentees may meet with their Money Mentor as many times as necessary to achieve financial knowledge and develop plans to manage their personal finances with no cost to meet one-on-one. Money Mentors provides financial strategies and education on topics such as budgeting; building savings; establishing financial goals; managing credit; and organizing finances.