Jan 30, 2024

Teacher Talk with Ambassador V. Mitchell

With 25 years of experience teaching financial education, Ambassador V. Mitchell is among the most committed and passionate educators in the NGPF network. Not only is he an NGPF Distinguished Educator, but he has completed every NGPF Certification Course. For multiple years, he has ranked in the top 1% of NGPF Academy hours earned. He was also among the first 51 educators to receive a Personal Finance Graduate Certificate for Educators from Arizona State University. Read on to learn more about Ambassador.


What is one of your earliest money memories? 
I remember being in the fifth grade and having two yards to mow where I received $5 for each yard. Every weekend, I made $10 and would wrap my money up in a handkerchief and hide it under the mattress for safekeeping.

Although at first I spent my money on candy, soda, junk food, and whatever my friends did, I eventually saved over $600. My grandmother was so proud and inspired that she took me to the bank and opened a passbook savings account for me. I became one of the bank’s youngest customers and they knew me by name.


How were you first exposed to personal finance learning?
I first learned about personal finance at age 10 from my great uncle Derrick C. Chapman, even though he never mentioned the term personal finance. He worked with me to develop a foundational money mindset.

He encouraged and challenged me to learn more about the VALUE of MONEY. He said, “for every dollar you save, I will match.”  I asked him if he really meant what he said, and he confirmed it.

I had $10 dollars earned the day before by cutting two yards in the neighborhood for $5 each. I went into my bedroom and came back with two $5 dollar bills wrapped in a handkerchief. I said, Uncle you said that for every dollar I save, you will match. Well, I saved $10. He matched it. Then I had $20.

I cut yards the next week and earned $10 more. So now I have $30. I went to my uncle and reminded him that for every dollar I saved he said he would match. I then said, I saved $30. So, he matched it. Now I have $60.

The pattern continued over the coming weeks.

My great uncle Derrick was successful in exposing me to compound interest, the 8th Wonder of the World according to Albert Einstein. The situational lesson that I experienced was like compound interest on steroids, the 8.5th Wonder of the World according to Ambassador V. Mitchell. That EXTRAORDINARY situational lesson changed the trajectory of my life. I am so grateful and thankful to God and my Uncle Derrick.


Where do you teach? Please also describe the size, location, community

I teach Financial Literacy from middle school age children through college age students. I have also taught Financial Literacy to adults sponsored by the Community Partnership of the Ozarks C.A.S.H. program. I served on the Prosper Springfield Financial Literacy Committee as one of the leading experts on Child Financial Literacy in Springfield, MO.

I am currently attending Missouri State University (MSU) doing professional development, customizing financial literacy modules for middle school age children, and creating a positive transition for first generation and underrepresented college students. MSU has over 24,000 students, located in Springfield, Missouri with a population of approximately 170,000 people. Missouri is one of 8 states that require high school seniors to have ½ credit of financial literacy to graduate. 

How long have you been teaching personal finance? 
I’ve been teaching financial literacy for over 25 years and NGPF is my go-to source for personal finance lessons and professional development. I first started teaching financial literacy in church to adults utilizing Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Lessons and materials.

I later started teaching children as young as kindergarten in church as well. Unfortunately, financial literacy teaching material for young children was unavailable or scarce, so I developed a training program that focused on Needs, Wants, Budgeting, Savings, Spending, Giving, & Investing. 


What makes you passionate about personal finance education?
By nature, I am a problem solver and by grace, I am an educator. When these two attributes are merged, I become an innovator.

To create sustainable success, I teach others how to solve their own financial problems and become life-long learners. What keeps me passionate is the JOY I receive from empowering children to achieve inclusive excellence and become life-long learners in their pursuit of happiness. This is a gift that keeps on giving. It creates a solid foundation for them to build on as they pursue their dreams and aspirations. 


What are your favorite topics to teach and activities to use in the classroom?

My favorite topics and activities center around Needs & Wants, Compound Interest, Rule of 72, Behavioral Economics, the Value of Money and Investing. Students love the FinCap Fridays, Questions of the Day, and Budgeting. Thanks Yanely Espinal and Amanda Volz.

As for me, I cannot get enough of Behavioral Economics and NGPF Certification Courses. Thanks Tim Ranzetta and Jessica Endlich for your EXTRAORDINARY VISION. NGPF ROCKS and the entire NGPF Team makes NGPF ROCK STEADY. 


Can you provide an example of how a lesson taught in class helped a student and/or someone in their family make a better money decision?
Practicing mental math skills and comparison shopping really do come in handy especially when children shop in the grocery store with their parents and make purchases at fast food drive through windows. Parents have been amazed at how these skills help to keep students/parents alert and make better money decisions.


Do you hear from past students? If so, what do they say about having taken your class?

Hearing from past students is so delightful. Buying stock at an early age and getting to see, touch, and observe their own original stock certificate is by far the coolest thing students remember and cherish.


You are a Distinguished Educator - what would you say to someone who hasn’t taken an NGPF Certification Course yet?
George Washington Carver once said, “Education is the key that unlocks the golden door to freedom.” However, freedom is not free. NGPF has PAID the PRICE and is willing to invest in YOUR financial freedom by providing ALL its personal finance education and personal development to you for FREE. It costs you nothing but your time. Believe in yourself and invest in yourself by signing up for one of the NGPF Certification Courses today. It’s a no-brainer. You don’t have to think about it. Just Do It. You will be glad you did. 


How has being part of the NGPF network helped you personally? Professionally?
Being part of NGPF has been a tremendous help in keeping my tools sharpened, collaborating with other bright minded personal finance educators, and learning current financial knowledge such as Behavioral Finance, Cryptocurrency, ChatGPT, and Risk Management for Educators.

My professional development has grown at a fast pace, which allowed me to participate in the CNBC Town Hall discussion Invest in Teachers Ready Set Grow and serve on other financial literacy panels as one of the leading experts on Child Financial Literacy.


Is there anything else about you, your school, or your personal finance journey that you would like us to know?

Becoming certified in Investment Management and Risk Management for Educators through the prolific partnership of Next Gen Personal Finance and Arizona State University was astonishing and a significant accomplishment toward obtaining my life goal.

My life goal is to make a positive impact on reducing poverty and improving the lives of children by using Child Financial Literacy to change the trajectory of their lives from poverty toward financial freedom. 

Thank you, NGPF & ASU, for helping me to touch the lives of many children in a positive life sustaining way. Keep up the good work. The best is yet to come.


About the Author

Hannah Rael

As NGPF's Marketing Communications Manager, Hannah (she/her) helps spread the word about NGPF's mission to improve the financial lives of the next generation of Americans.

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