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Giving back: United Way volunteer thrilled to help others ‘get’ financial management

June 10, 2016

By Nancy Winckler-Zuniga
Originally published in The Florida Times-Union

United Way of Northeast Florida RealSense volunteer Cassie Bordeaux seems to burst with excitement when she talks about how cool it is to help someone learn to balance their checkbook better or how to avoid fraud scams. The thrill of helping someone “get it” keeps her giving back.

Cassie Bordeaux
Wells Fargo employee Cassie Bordeaux helps local youth and seniors better understand financial management through her volunteer work with United Way of Northeast Florida’s RealSense initiative.

Bordeaux, a Wells Fargo employee, credits her mother with guiding her toward the banking field. Starting out at as a teller in her own Birmingham, Ala., neighborhood, she had little idea her chosen career would lead her to Jacksonville, one day guiding others toward a more secure financial future.

Making sure others had a secure future was an example her mother set. Already a mother to three girls, Bordeaux’s mom opened her heart and her home to others who needed a place to live.

“Mom is like me – she doesn’t say ‘no,’” Bordeaux said. “We were three girls, and as we grew older, she adopted more. As she met people along the way, she’d adopt them. Some of them were kids; some of them were our teenaged friends. She’d hear their story, and say ‘They need to be here. They need somewhere to stay.’”

Bordeaux is customer sales and service representative at the Springfield branch of Wells Fargo ­Bank in Jacksonville. Her position there has allowed her to serve the community in several ways, including through Wells Fargo’s spring “Teach Children to Save” campaign and fall “Get Smart About Credit” campaign.

“It has meant educating adults and children on how to manage their savings and credit,” she said. Bordeaux most recently conducted a workshop for a small group of fifth-graders at an area church.

Given her experience, it was a natural fit when staff at United Way of Northeast Florida’s RealSense Prosperity Place, located in Wells Fargo Historic Springfield Community Learning Center, asked Bordeaux if she would help teach workshops with seniors. She jumped at the chance and has led workshops two years running.

“We have an annual senior day,” Bordeaux said, referring to RealSense Prosperity Place’s Healthy, Wealthy Senior Living Fair.

“Last year, we [featured] crime prevention, or scam prevention, like at the gas pump,” Bordeaux said.  “Another one is those email scams. It’s heartbreaking when you bring a grandmother to the store, and she has a negative balance because she’s given it to some fraud scam.”

Bordeaux continues to educate youth as well, presenting on sound money practices and explaining banking services at RealSense’s summer Youth Money Camps.

“When I got the job and saw how I could grow and help, I thought, ‘Wow, this is pretty cool now! I get the opportunity to mentor kids. I get to mentor seniors who are trying to make ends meet.”

Bordeaux knows the classes she teaches and the seniors and youth she assists are making a difference.

“I get that warm tingling feeling,” she said, “because the next time you see them, for example, they’ll tell me, ‘My granddaughter used all the five steps of financial aid, and now she’s got that scholarship.’ That’s a good feeling. I love watching people grow in what you teach them.”

If you’d like to learn more about United Way of Northeast Florida’s RealSense Prosperity Place services and RealSense’s partnership with Wells Fargo, visit unitedwaynefl.org/realsense.