Each morning, students at Pittsburgh’s Grandview Elementary gather for “community time.” They share student shout-outs, sing, dance and get ready for a new day of learning.
As the school day started last month, a team of 31 BNY Mellon volunteers – nearly all participants in the company’s mentoring program – spent that time getting ready to take over the school and teach hundreds of kids from kindergarten through fifth grade about financial literacy. The program is offered in partnership with Junior Achievement in what is known as a JA Day.
“The littlest ones learn lessons about saving money in their piggy banks and the difference between wants and needs,” said Loretta Mosser, project manager for BNY Mellon’s mentoring program and Junior Achievement board member. “Try explaining to a six-year-old that they really don’t need a puppy; it’s a tough sell!”
Bright, young students get lessons in financial literacy from a team of passionate BNY Mellon volunteers
Older students learn about the financial aspects of starting a business, paying taxes and public service. The fifth-grade students get a lesson in innovation by working to solve a problem with an existing product.
“Innovation is celebrated at BNY Mellon, and it’s never too early to encourage that kind of creative problem solving,” Mosser continued.
JA Day volunteers included entry-level employees all the way to Ian Stewart, Chairman of BNY Mellon in Pennsylvania and CEO of Treasury Services.
“It’s both inspiring and rewarding to be part of the effort to share our knowledge and our experiences with young people in our community,” said Stewart. “The values of our volunteer mentors are the qualities that will lay the foundation for these individuals and others to be the future leaders of our company. The students – they are tomorrow’s hopeful workforce and tomorrow’s community leaders. JA Day helps all the participants to prepare and to be better.”
Some volunteers came to the United States as adults; others were born and raised in Pittsburgh.
“When volunteers pull down the map in the classroom to share their story with the kids, either their personal journey or all the countries they’ve visited as part of their position here at BNY Mellon, it highlights the diversity we benefit from every day,” Mosser said. “When we pull everyone's diverse backgrounds together we can give these kids real-life examples that prove they can accomplish anything they put their mind to so long as they are willing to work for it.”
“I am always motivated by the amazing commitment from our mentees and mentors who are actively seeking ways to learn, grow and encourage others,” said Camille Reed, BNY Mellon Business Analysis Consultant and mentoring program chair for the company’s IMPACT Network. “This collaboration with Junior Achievement underscores the value that BNY Mellon and our employees place on mentoring. Seeing this talented and diverse group of leaders come together to educate and encourage future generations highlights the reciprocal benefit of mentoring at work and in our communities.”
The morning after JA Day, community time was dominated by students sharing what they learned. They discussed taxes, resume building and even operating their own businesses.
“Seeing that spark of interest take hold is so powerful,” Mosser said. “It’s energizing to be part of the learning process and it never fails to make me feel better about the future.”