ST. PAUL, Minn. (7/11/14)--Sandy Olson, an employee of the charitable foundation of $1.7 billion-asset Affinity Plus FCU, St. Paul, Minn., has been recognized as a Time MONEY hero.
One person from each state and Washington, D.C., is recognized as a MONEY hero for helping others improve their personal financial situations.
Olson was nominated and selected as the MONEY hero in Minnesota for teaching financial education courses to refugees at MORE Multicultural School for Empowerment (MORE) for the past 11 years. The topics she covers in the courses include money management, budgeting, credit cards and lending.
"During each class, I provide refugees with tools that will help them understand our country's financial system, and then dive into specific topics like checking and savings accounts for example," said Olson. "Most importantly, I listen to their questions and concerns, and help them find answers. As the discussion develops, and their confidence and trust grows, so does our relationship."
"Olson has never been out of the country yet she teaches refugees from Bhutan to Ethiopia," the MONEY magazine article said in describing Olson's work. "Today the personal finance classes she teaches are the last of a series in which immigrants learn English and basic living skills. Olson explains budgeting and shows her students how to compare credit cards and real estate online; she discusses the link between credit reports and hiring. And she drives her students around because most don't have cars."
Olson told MONEY that providing rides for her students helped them develop a bond and build trust. "Trust is huge factor," she said. "They've been through so much."
Olson's dedication is inspiring. More than a dozen of her Affinity Plus co-workers have also volunteered at MORE, MONEY reported.
For more on Olson and her work, use the links.