When Joe Farley, Data Entry Specialist at UniWyo Federal Credit Union in Laramie, Wyoming, entered Ms. Ward’s 6th grade classroom in the spring of 2011, he was eager to help students make meaningful connections with principles of economics and personal finance. Armed with volunteer training and a portfolio filled with teaching materials, Joe was prepared to engage young minds in a dynamic discussion about financial management. What Joe wasn’t prepared for was the personal connection he would make with the students’ teacher.
“I was sent to Ms. Ward’s classroom to teach about economics, and less than a year later, we were dating,” says Joe. “I was in love the moment I met her.”
New to Junior Achievement (JA) and to mentoring young people, Joe began supporting the organization as part of a community outreach project with three of his colleagues at UniWyo Federal Credit Union.
“As a business professional in Laramie, I think it is critically important to be involved in JA. Instilling a passion for free enterprise, entrepreneurship and financial literacy in the youth of Wyoming is essential to me to ensure that, as the least populated state, we do our fair share to produce intelligent and inquisitive minds in future generations.
“Financial education is important for all steps in life,” adds Joe. “Working for a financial institution, I know all too well the dangers of being under educated when it comes to personal finance. If even one of the kids I talk to about making smart decisions with money uses that information to make an informed and deliberate financial decision when they grow up, then my time will have been very well spent.”
Joe’s commitment to financial literacy extends beyond his volunteer efforts to his own education. In fact, Joe currently is pursuing a master’s degree in business administration.
And if you’re wondering what ever happened to Ms. Ward, she and Joe are happily married and are enjoying life together with their puppy Kipper.