“This person is going to make the world a better place.”
“I believe so much in this organization, and it’s given back more to me than I could ever give to it,” Mitch Falter, a Britepaths volunteer Financial Empowerment mentor and guest speaker at this year’s Artful Living: Forward event.
Mitch inspired everyone in the room, and we’re excited to share the video of his event remarks here. Weaving in his own life journey that brought him to Britepaths, Mitch connected the large and small ways that he’s seen Britepaths make a difference for our clients to the joy he’s felt in helping his mentee navigate financial barriers to obtain a master’s degree.
He noted that, thanks to the support of Britepaths’ staff and volunteers, his mentee is “doing something that makes everybody’s lives better. This person is going to make the world a better place. They’re moving forward, and someday will turn around and do the same thing. Give back. Because of what Britepaths did.”
Britepaths’ staff and volunteers deliver our Financial Empowerment services through the Financial Empowerment Center at South County, through a partnership with the United Way of the National Capital Area and Fairfax County. Our one-on-one financial mentoring and coaching services are supported in part by the Foundation for Financial Planning.
Transcript of Mitch Falter’s Remarks
Mitch Falter is a founding member and financial planner at ReFrame Wealth in Fairfax. He serves as a Financial Empowerment volunteer with Britepaths and the Financial Empowerment Center at South County.
“I believe so much in this organization, and it’s given back more to me than I could ever give to it.
“Let me tell you what’s really easy. Financial planning for rich people is really easy. And the best financial planners I’ve ever known are Carole, Martha, and people who solve problems when you don’t have abundance and the stakes are so high. So, part of the joy of being a volunteer is simply operating in a place where the stakes couldn’t be higher. Where you can truly make a difference; where every decision matters.
“And, I know this because I came from a place where I was profoundly challenged by finding resources to keep my family moving forward. I had a child when I was 19 years old. And I found that the process of trying to make it work exhausting. Getting food stamps, with housing, and nobody really cared about connecting you to the next thing you needed. And what that leads to, in the absence of people like Britepaths, is just exhaustion. You do just enough to make it to the next day.
“And I always thought, if I make it, if I figure this out, what I’m going to do is, when I retire, I’m going to sit on a corner in, like Anacostia or something, and I’ll be the guy who fills out your paperwork for you. I’ll be the guy who says, All right, I’ll do this thing for you, and now let’s connect you to the next service. And then I found out that Britepaths has already done that, and done it far better than I ever could.
“And so, as a volunteer — I needed to volunteer with my business partner Jessie — as a financial mentor, we’ve talked. And what I want everybody to know is that I’ve never worked with an organization where what you choose to give has such an immediate impact on somebody’s life.
“I had the joy of serving a client who wanted to graduate with a master’s. Which is a profound accomplishment. And the barriers on the way to the degree were things that Britepaths helped us overcome. Your giving pays for the brilliant minds at Britepaths, who know how to make it work for those families. But it also pays for things like, I have to live in Stafford. And the only job that will make it work is in Fairfax, and my car broke down. How do I not lose my job? My financial aid didn’t come through. How do I make it through this semester? Britepaths is there, and I’m proud to say, my mentee has graduated. Has a master’s degree. Has a brighter future. Not only that, doing something that makes everybody’s lives better. This person is going to make the world a better place. They’re moving forward, and someday will turn around and do the same thing. Give back. Because of what Britepaths did.
“But I think the single greatest moment of joy I had in the last year was, I had the opportunity to speak to some foster kids who were aging out of the system about financial planning. And I was standing there thinking about it. There were some older kids in their 20s, talking to some kids, 14-15. Britepaths connected us. Talking about what it was like to live as an adult. We were playing a financial planning game and they were trying to figure out how to spend their money. It was the most adorable, wonderful thing. The older kids were telling the younger ones, like… The younger kids were trying to say, The first thing I’m going to do is buy a car. And then they’re finding they have no money left for rent. And in the end, while Britepaths is big things, big things helping them move forward through their lives. Your gift, your donation, also meant that at the end, I was able to give these kids a gift card, because they gave up their Saturday to hear me talk about financial planning. And this one girl had a pair of sunglasses — I’ll never forget — on her Amazon Wish List for six months, and she was able to hit go on her Amazon Wish List, and showing her sister.
“So, it means big things and little things. And we’ve all been blessed, and I’m just so grateful to have the opportunity to be part of that. And I hope everybody finds in their hearts to move that mission forward and continue the great things that Britepaths is doing.”