In this age of economic complications and the need for financial literacy, the average wage earner might be uncertain where to turn for help. The main idea to retain is that one is not alone. Since Jan. 1, Germaine Mitchell, the financial empowerment outreach coordinator at Guadalupe Credit Union, has been available to help residents with their financial needs and concerns.
“I can help people begin savings plans to help them get closer to their dreams. Also, I can help individuals create a budget and help those who come to me identify necessary changes to help with their finances,” Mitchell said during an interview at the Guadalupe branch in Taos.
Since 1948, Guadalupe has been committed to providing Northern New Mexico residents financial empowerment. According to a statement from Mitchell, “Social responsibility sets Guadalupe Credit Union apart from other financial institutions in New Mexico.” As a nonprofit, Guadalupe supports community members through charitable activities, community events and emergency relief efforts. The credit union facilitates free financial literacy programs and offers products and services to help educate, protect, support and empower members of all ages, Mitchell said.
Thus, Mitchell's work blends with the entire mission of Guadalupe, providing a good fit for her position and duties.
“When a person needs help and there's someone there to assist them, then that's good. I'm there to improve people's lives, and it won't cost them any money. This year, Guadalupe Credit Union is the proud recipient of a $2 million grant from the Department of Treasury. This grant will help transform the lives of low-income individuals through the use of credit union products and free financial literacy outreach services,” Mitchell said.
For more than 20 years, Mitchell served her clients as a professional fundraiser and grant writer, working a great deal with charitable and nonprofit agencies.
Mitchell works with community partners to host financial literacy trainings for adults, fairs for students, credit clinics for families and financial empowerment collaborative efforts with Taos Pueblo. Individuals or organizations wishing to discuss an issue or make an appointment with Mitchell can call her direct line at (505) 216-0474 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Mitchell said loan officers are available to help members with branch promotions and other benefits.
Mitchell's hometown of New Orleans has seen many changes since Hurricane Katrina. She had renovated her home, which was then damaged during the catastrophe. Mitchell decided that she could no longer live through future hurricanes and evacuations. What if another levy would breach? Could she return home? These thoughts caused her to leave home and relocate.
For many years, Mitchell tried different positions. She worked for the National Kidney Foundation, at Father Flanagan's Boys' Town and the YMCA. Other positions included a small anti-domestic violence program with women's shelters and a stint at America's Wetland, which worked to help save the coast from erosion. Mitchell also worked in Wyoming to convert a ski hill from a for-profit organization to a nonprofit. The conversion helped to offer every fifth-grader in the area and 10 families the opportunity to receive a scholarship to ski at no cost for an entire season.
Mitchell discovered New Mexico during a job hunt. As she drove into the state and saw the sign that read, “Welcome to New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment,” she felt that the words resonated with her. Her job search took her to Albuquerque, Santa Fe and finally to Taos. Mitchell credits her fellow Rotary International members for much assistance with her transition.
She now serves on the Taos Alive board and assists at the Taos Education and Career Center (TECC). She's a member of the Latir Fire Department, receiving training in beginning aspects of the volunteer work. Soon, she plans to join other firefighters for more advanced training in Red River. One of her favorite activities includes cooking for large groups as a volunteer.
When asked about the differences between New Orleans and New Mexico, Mitchell said, “I miss my Friday night fried oysters and Cajun food. I love reading about cultures, miracles and Bible-based information. My reading tastes include anything that helps me learn about various cultures.”
Mitchell likes to travel, and for many years, she considered Mount Hood (Oregon) her "place." However, now that she lives in a mountainous area, she feels no need to travel to her former favorite resort. Her family, scattered throughout the country, offers Mitchell places to visit. Family members reside in the following areas: Her mother and older sister in New Orleans; her second oldest sister in Washington, D.C.; and her youngest sister in Fairhope, Alabama. “I love to discover new things, but I'm also happy and at home in beautiful Northern New Mexico,” Mitchell said.
Guadalupe Credit Union
115 La Posta Road, Suite C