Colorado Association of REALTORS | YPN Networks Lead Volunteer Efforts
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YPN Networks Lead Volunteer Efforts

YPN Networks Lead Volunteer Efforts

Young REALTORS® Support Junior Achievement

When the Colorado Young Professionals Network (CYPN) advisory group met at the end of 2014 to discuss its strategic plan for 2015 and beyond, the group committed to move forward with supporting charitable organizations as a way to develop leadership among its members. Justin Knoll, 2015 CYPN Chair, made the decision to support Junior Achievement of Colorado and CYPN organized 40 members and affiliates to volunteer time at JA Finance Park in Thornton, Colorado throughout the month of February.

Junior Achievement’s JA Finance Park was a natural fit for the CYPN partnership, as it is supported by a major sponsorship from the CAR Education Foundation. The Colorado Association of REALTORS® Education Foundation (CARED) renewed its sponsorship for 2015, which includes a branded kiosk at the JA Finance Park, as well as Colorado REALTOR® identification on all housing items in the JA Finance Park materials.

The Junior Achievement sponsorship “is a great investment in our future to teach students about the importance of home ownership,” said Carrie Fieger, Director CAR Charities. “CARED saw the need for such a program and was thrilled to continue our sponsorship for Junior Achievement.”

JA Finance Park’s mission is to “help students build a foundation for making intelligent, lifelong, personal financial decisions through a hands-on, realistic simulation experience.” Each student that completes the Park simulation comes prepared for the day’s volunteer-led activities, as they have been working in the classroom with teacher taught curriculum on financial success in adulthood.

Sarah Hockhalter and Gavin Chavoustie of SMDRA, volunteering at JA Finance Park in Thornton.

At JA Finance Park, visiting students become an adult for the day! Students receive a profile, displayed on tablets, that lists their simulated job, annual income, credit score, outstanding debt, and
family information. They practice adult decision making for family budgets, including housing, transportation, taxes, utilities, and other investments.

“The students were amazed at what they could and couldn’t afford!” said Sara Hockhalter, South Metro Denver Association of REALTORS® (SMDRA) YPN Chair. “This type of activity is so important for these students to go through.”

Throughout the simulation volunteers play a strong role as mentors by sharing their own experiences with education, career choices, and managing finances. Both REALTOR® and affiliate members who were able to donate their time in February to the CYPN volunteering efforts found the experience of assisting students with these simulated decisions to be rewarding. Simply put by Justin Knoll, the volunteer experience is “easy and impactful.”

“What an awesome experience! The fundamentals of budgeting are essential for all students and JA Finance Park does a great job of incorporating into a fun life lesson,” said Gavin Chavoustie, SMDRA YPN member. “As a professional in the community I think it is a great opportunity for us to give back and I look forward to volunteering again.”

Lisa Wade, JA volunteer and 2015 President of the Boulder Area REALTOR® Association, feels that REALTORS® are uniquely tied to the people they serve, as their success tracks directly with the overall health of the community. “I do a lot of volunteer work in the community,”she says. “I just think it’s important.”

Finance Park is offered at no cost to students or schools thanks to the support of volunteers and donors, and CAR is proud to support the organization through YPN volunteerism
and the CAR Education Foundation sponsorship.

Thank you to the following groups and individuals, who helped CYPN to organize volunteers for JA Finance Park in February, 2015:
• Denver Metro Association of REALTORS® YPN (Chair, Piper Bruner)
• Boulder Area REALTOR® Association YPN (Chair, Drew Smith)
• Boulder Area REALTOR® Association (President, Lisa Wade)
• South Metro Denver Association of REALTORS YPN (Chair, Sara Hockhalter)
• Colorado Association of REALTORS® YPN (Chair, Justin Knoll, and Vice-Chair Leanne Goff )

CYPN looks forward to continuing their partnership with Junior Achievement of Colorado. In the future, CYPN will organize focused volunteer events with participation encouraged from the REALTOR® community.

“This is a hands-on day of volunteering,” says Justin Knoll. “One of the most rewarding volunteer opportunities I have had and I would highly suggest anyone to get involved. Junior Achievement
continues to show its worth in our community, where it matters most for the students and volunteers.”

If you, or your local group, would like to participate, please contact CYPN’s staff liaison at CAR, Molly Highnam at



Molly Highnam

Communication and Services Coordinator | Colorado Association of REALTORS®

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