All too often we hear someone sighing and mumbling under their breath, “I wish I had done that when I was younger.”
Coast Capital Savings and Vancity Buzz are celebrating Youth Week BC by highlighting the stories of outstanding young people in our communities. These leaders have built a richer future for themselves, their peers, and their communities as a whole.
Coast Capital’s Youth Get It investment program empowers young people to get involved in their communities.
This innovative community investment program – which sees 7% of the credit union’s pre-tax profits reinvested in their communities – is focused on programs that help youth with financial empowerment, healthy minds, and educational success.
Vancity Buzz had a chance to sit down with five inspiring young people who have benefited from Coast Capital’s Youth Get It investment program to talk about how it’s changed their lives.
Enter Amanda Welschlau, the Manager of Sponsorships and Events at Coast Capital Savings. Her work for the company began at Coast Capital as a member, then leader, of the Coast Capital Youth Team, one of the credit union’s signature Youth Get It programs. This initiative offers grade 11 and 12 students the opportunity to serve as youth ambassadors at events throughout their communities and gives them real-world, in-branch experience.
Why are you passionate about community leadership?
I’m so lucky to have a career that allows me to be my authentic self. I have always been very connected to my own community and have first-hand experience of the positive influence a strong school community, positive role-models, and team sports can have on someone’s life. I’ve always felt that I needed to give a little bit of myself back to the community that served me so well – how fitting that I now work for a cooperative which gives back to our local communities too! Working for Coast Capital Savings aligns so well with my own personal values.
What’s one thing you most want to change in the world that would help youth?
Making financial literacy education mandatory. I think the minute a young person begins making any money (even just from a paper route) they need to learn the power money holds. Having an income is the very basis for money management. In my experience, the more money stress you have, the less you want to talk about it, but this is when you need to have this talk most.
When did money talks become taboo? We see the dentist, doctor, and even aestheticians for preventative care. It should be no different when it comes to financial health. This is something I was given from working at Coast Capital Savings so young. I learned the importance of saving before I even got my first pay cheque – this was an invaluable lesson that has undoubtedly shaped a lot of the success in my life.
Why do you think it’s important for youth to be supported with programs like these?
Young people are underestimated. I often hear the youth of today being stereotyped as lacking work ethic and loyalty, and perceived as attached to their smartphones. Sure, this may apply at times, but I also think that young people have so much to contribute to the conversation. This is a generation that doesn’t remember not having the internet; of course they are programmed completely differently than previous generations.
Today’s youth can offer incredible insight when it comes to problem solving and innovative thinking. Plus, they care about sustainability, giving back to their communities, and know how to live a balanced lifestyle. They are socially and environmentally conscious citizens who can make remarkable change, if given the opportunity.
What’s the most important life lesson you have learned?
The first is that you don’t know what you don’t know. And when you know better, you do better. You cannot expect to make the right decision, always. But, once you’re equipped with the right tools – either through education or lived experience – you will make better choices.
Looking five or 10 years ahead, what’s the dream?
I didn’t know I would be where I am now 10 years ago, so who knows! But, I will be successful, if I can say that I am proud of the balance in my life between family, friends, work, and taking care of myself (mentally and physically). In 10 years, the dream would be having kids, growing in my career, and exploring the world!
What book are you reading right now?
I have so many half-read books sitting on my bedside table. I am also one of those people who reads the first and last page before starting a book – so strange, I know. Right now I’m most actively reading (and almost done) Thrive by Ariana Huffington.
Tell us about your experiences with the Coast Capital Youth Team, and then as a staff member.
I started working for Coast Capital Savings as a member of the Surrey Youth Team. I can still recall the very day I got the call that the job was mine! I worked full-time the summer before grade 12 and continued the program throughout my graduation year. Once finishing high school, I began my post-secondary studies in SFU’s business administration program. I was so lucky to continue working part-time with Coast Capital Savings while attending school.
Once I graduated, a full-time opportunity became available, and I’m in my third role since then. I have had seven different roles in the past 10 years. Without doubt, the youth team at Coast Capital was a life-changing opportunity. I didn’t know that one phone call would have the power to shape the trajectory of my life.
If you’re interested in learning more about Coast Capital’s Youth Get It investment program, click here. Coast Capital’s Youth Get It investment program supports a variety of youth-focused initiatives. This includes the credit union’s signature programs like its Youth Team, and Young Leaders Community Councils. In addition, initiatives such as SFU Venture Connection Program, Youth Futures Education Fund and Tradeworks for Women in the Trades benefit from the Youth Get It investment program.
Tomorrow, Vancity Buzz will chat with Bal Khatra, a member of the Coast Capital’s Young Leaders Community Council.