It’s hard for kids to imagine next week, let alone adulthood. But, a handful of Tucson-area elementary school kids now know a little more about what it’s like to be a chief executive officer after spending the day shadowing Robert D. Ramirez, Vantage West Credit Union’s president and CEO.
AZ Bilingual organized the effort, partnering local business leaders with Tucson-area youth, as a way to introduce them to different careers. The kids spent the day learning about how a credit union works, why financial readiness is important and how education will help them achieve their goals.
“This day provided our youth with positive experiences about work life, and gave them an opportunity to ask questions about what we do and how we make a difference in the lives of our members and employees,” Ramirez said.
And, the kids were certainly eager to learn.
In letters to Ramirez before their shadow day, the kids explained why they thought he was a good role model and why they were interested in spending the day at Vantage West. One of the kids said she learned about money while working as a cashier at her family’s restaurant, and noted that she looked forward to buying stock, in something, some day.
Another, named Noah, said he hoped to have a job one day like the one Ramirez has, and included his qualifications.
“I am good at counting money,” he said.
Flora thought Vantage West plays an important role in the community, since money is a necessity for everyone.
“If we don’t have money, we would have no homes and we will have to live outside,” she said. “And, I don’t want to live outside.”
For Enrique, visiting Vantage West was a totally new experience.
“I’ve never been to Vantage West,” he said. “What do you do in a bank?”
After learning a few banking basics, asking questions of Vantage West’s executives, and squeezing in lunch, the kids came away from the experience with a solid, insider perspective on their local financial institution. Ramirez said he was happy to participate and felt lucky to have had the opportunity to reinforce the importance of education and plant a seed about the value of financial readiness.
“The youth are our future,” Ramirez said. “Helping them understand what we do will allow them to better understand how to change the status quo and improve their own lives and the lives in the communities where they will eventually live.”