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IBM Employees and United Way Teach Banking Course

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - It may be difficult to remember more prosperous times in the midst of the lingering economic crisis, but the United Way and volunteers from IBM did their best to educate the public on how to ensure financial security with banking tips Tuesday in White Plains.

As part of IBM’s centennial celebration, employees were encouraged to volunteer their time and get out in the community to benefit people’s lives in a positive way.

Barbara Simons, IBM marketing and communications operations specialist of 33 years, decided to volunteer as a financial consultant for the United Way Tuesday because she works with budgets at IBM on a daily basis.

“Across the entire company people have gotten involved in all kinds of different things and this is one of the programs that looked interesting to me so I signed up for it,” Simons said. “I’ve never done anything like this before and it’s great to be able to help people.”

Volunteering alongside Simons were IBM employees Anthony Mixcus and Rick Klutey.

The United Way also offers a one-on-one financial coaching program, which Simons said she was interested in volunteering for.

One of the main topics of discussion throughout the hour-long class was identity theft and the safety of online banking.

Simons thinks online banking is a safe way to keep track of your finances but she understands people being wary about the idea of changing to the digital format.

“Things are different today,” Simons said. “Times are a lot harder and things have changed and I think people have to do things a little differently than they did years ago as far as getting a good track record financially. I do understand the point of view of someone who knows somebody that has gone through that [identity theft] because it does happen.”

United Way volunteer Doris Perez knows the importance of these finance classes and said she was impressed with IBM’s presentation.

“It’s great to learn from people who have been in the business for a long period of time,” Perez said. “We [United Way] connect volunteers that want to give their time and share their expertise with people from the community and the IBM volunteers today did a wonderful job.”

Perez has been a volunteer for various organizations throughout her life and began working for United Way this summer. She stated the importance of the interaction between the volunteers with the students during presentations.

“Every presentation that we have done, we have the participation of the guests they’re willing to comment and they aren’t intimidated because we bring people who are from the real world that know about these problems,” Perez said. “People like to ask questions and they always bring up wonderful points.”

The United Way of Westchester and Putnam, along with GreenPath, a non-profit agency, offers multiple classes regarding finance. Appointments can be made at United Way on Central Avenue in White Plains.

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