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Accomplishment Spotlight: AmeriCorps VISTA Rachel Kersaint and Give an Hour Bring Financial Expertise to Military Community in Virginia November 1, 2012

Posted by servicecorpsnews in Accomplishment Spotlight.
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Give an Hour and the Community Blueprint partnered with Blue Star Families, Navy Fleet and Family Support, and Old Dominion University to host a Military Family Financial Summit in Hampton Roads, Va. The event, held in ODU’s Webb Center this September, was open to all servicemembers, veterans and their families.

The idea for the summit was derived from Blue Star Families’ annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey.  The organization noticed a recurring lack of financial and legal knowledge among participants, and decided to rectify the situation by bringing it before the monthly Hampton Roads Community Blueprint Meeting.

Rachel Kersaint, an AmeriCorps VISTA assigned to Give an Hour and the Community Blueprint through the ALA Call to Service Corps, provided the driving force behind the Military Family Financial Summit.  Kersaint handled the logistics by working with ODU to secure a venue, reaching out to speakers and promoting the event within the Hampton Roads community.

Financial experts from local organizations gathered to host workshops, which attendees could select based on their interests. The most popular workshop was “Portable Entrepreneurship for Military Spouses,” which provided information about careers accommodating to the unique demands of military life, chief among which is frequent relocation.

Keynote speaker Neale Godfrey provided a special seminar for the children in attendance. In the seminar, they learned about responsible spending from the author and financial expert.

Attendees, particularly spouses, were enthusiastic about the Summit. Servictemembers receive some financial advice through the military’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP). Their program is brief, and servicemembers often do not pass on the knowledge they acquire to their families.

“I think it had a great impact, and it helped get information about the Community Blueprint out,” Kersaint said.

Hampton Roads Community Blueprint members intend to hold another Military Family Financial Summit next year, and are looking forward to bringing financial literacy to an even wider group.

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