This year a group of like-minded organizations committed to working together to reach Fort Smith residents with more financial help and enrich households with better money skills. In order to accomplish this mission we want to grow the number of financial mentors in the community. Through support from the following partners, we want to help individuals and families reach their full financial potential.
Want to partner with us?
We’re looking for people interested in helping others build financial skills and reach financial goals. Please consider committing a portion of your volunteer time over the next 6 months to becoming a Master Money Mentor in the Reach to Enrich Fort Smith Financial Literacy Program. As a Master Money Mentor, you will join a network of caring financial professionals who enjoy serving the community, building financial skills, and expanding access to resources in our region.
All Master Money Mentors will receive free training from Dr. Laura Hendrix of the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service to become financial educators and mentors. Once trained, these mentors will volunteer, as their schedule allows, to teach classes in the Fort Smith community, provide individual help to those needing personal guidance and assist with fun outreach events.
What does it take to become a Master Money Mentor?
Sign Up: Complete the volunteer application and enrollment information to secure your spot at an upcoming training event. Commit to volunteering as your schedule allows over the next six months and let us run a routine background check so everyone is protected.
Get Trained: Attend one of our free trainings on March 19th from 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm at CCOA in Fort Smith. By attending one of these half-day trainings you’ll be introduced to the tools, tactics, and team members supporting our Master Money Mentors.
Stay Supported: Keep in touch as a part of our volunteer team through emails, video updates and regularly scheduled interactive conversations with Dr. Hendrix and others. Through these communications we’ll cover tools, topics and tactics to keep your skills updated. You’ll also be given a chance to share your experiences with other mentors and request support from our training team.
Get Connected: Start using your training by leading workshops, advising others through one on one conversations or helping at fun outreach events in the community. We’ll send you some opportunities to pick from. If your schedule allows you to connect with a particular opportunity, let us know and we’ll get you all the details.
Master Money Mentor FAQ’s
- What information will you need from me? We’re using a secure online form to help us gather some important information to get started. We’ll ask for your basic contact information, why you’re interested and your availability for training and volunteering. Next we will ask you to tell us the volunteer role(s) you’re most interested in (workshop presenter, mentor or event volunteer). You can select any or all of these options based on your interest and availability. Finally, we want to be sure everyone who participates as a volunteer is safe and trustworthy, so we’re asking for two character references and consent to a background check.
- Why are you asking for a background check? Based on best practices for volunteers and CCOA policies, the background check is required for all CCOA community volunteers throughout the state. These policies include our Master Money Mentors in Fort Smith. The routine background check helps us ensure everyone who is a part of our volunteer team is safe and trustworthy. Don’t worry about minor issues (e.g. traffic violations), they won’t keep you from joining. If you have any questions about this process, feel free to contact CCOA Education Director, Mark Foster (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Does a volunteer have to teach a financial class? No. We know public speaking can be intimidating, so we promise you won’t be forced to teach a class or workshop. We’re grateful for those who want to help out at community events and provide financial mentoring to members of the community.
- What will you ask Master Money Mentors to do? What are the requirements for the different roles? First, we understand many who will sign up as Master Money Mentors are busy professionals with families. We know you have a lot on your plate already, so we’ll only ask you to consider helping out with scheduled classes or events as you are able. Here’s a basic overview of the roles:
- Workshop Presenter
- Who: Anyone interested in learning how to give a financial presentation to a group. Experience in banking or finance is a plus, but not required.
- What: The classes will mostly be about setting financial goals, creating a spending plan and building your credit. We’ll be using the CFPB’s Financial Empowerment Toolkit as our primary resource guide.
- How: We’ll provide training, walk you through the material, give you a presentation to review, and invite you to come watch a seasoned presenter lead a group.
- Where/When: Partners like United Way Fort Smith and others will help us compose a list of classes for adults at local nonprofits, schools and religious organizations on a schedule. We will email and post the schedule and ask our presenters to select dates and times that work for them.
- Who: Anyone interested in learning how to help people access and use financial resources.
- What: Mentors will become knowledgeable about what financial help is available in Fort Smith and familiar with online resources to help people work towards financial goals and solve financial problems.
- How: We’ll provide training on the various services offered in Fort Smith and how a mentor might refer to these services in specific scenarios. We’ll also give you a tour of the online education tools available, and train you on how/when a person might use each one.
- Where/When: We want to equip mentors to refer to available financial resources wherever they are and whenever it’s appropriate. We know it’s hard for people to talk about money, but when money comes up we want our mentors to be ready to help their coworker, friend, customer or church member.
- Event Volunteer:
- Who: Anyone interested in volunteering at a community event focused on financial literacy.
- What: Event volunteers will help us provide financial literacy events in the Fort Smith community through a specific role (greeter, check in, feedback coordinator, etc.)
- How: Event volunteers will be provided with a list of events, and, as their schedule allows, the volunteer will sign up to help at one or more of these events. After confirming their event and role, the volunteer will arrive a little early for a brief orientation before the event.
- Where/When: Partners like Economics Arkansas and Arvest will help us compose a schedule of events. We will email and post the schedule and ask our event volunteers to select dates and times that work for them.
I’ve had some tough money troubles in the past. Does this disqualify me? Not at all. Here at CCOA we believe experiences (even challenging financial experiences) can be a tool to help individuals develop new skills and cultivate greater empathy for their neighbors. Our organization has even hired financial counselors who have experienced significant financial setbacks. We know few have a stellar financial history, and that’s ok. If you want to discuss your specific concerns feel free to contact CCOA Education Director, Mark Foster (email@example.com). Otherwise, don’t let a financial setback keep you from joining Reach to Enrich as a Master Money Mentor.
The Reach to Enrich Fort Smith Partners
These partners have committed to working together to improve the financial capability of program participants in Fort Smith through outreach, training, evaluation and financial capability services.