Eden Volunteer of the Month - August 2017

Prakash Narasimhalu, Financial Opportunity Corps Volunteer

We are so proud of the volunteers who choose to give their time to our affordable communities and residents. You can read other stories about our volunteers at Meet Our VolunteersIf you're interested in volunteering with Eden, please go to Volunteer with Eden Housing.

Below is Eden Housing's Volunteer of the Month

Name: Prakash Narasimhalu

Program: Financial Opportunity Corps

Why did you chose to volunteer with Eden Housing as a financial coach?  As a first generation immigrant, I am grateful for all that this country and the community has offered, and I am always looking for ways to give back.   I have been fortunate to have gained knowledge in financial well-being -- When Eden Housing presented a financial coach opportunity, I jumped on it.

What have you done as a volunteer?  Please describe your role and what you have worked on.  I met with my client to understand their background, financial needs and goals. First couple of sessions, I focused entirely on gaining trust. In subsequent sessions, I offered specific action steps tailored to address their immediate financial concerns (e.g. obtain and review credit reports/score). This enabled them to see the value in coaching arrangement. In later sessions, I worked with the client on creating a budget to help meet the financial goal (e.g. building an emergency fund)

What have you learned through your volunteer experience?  Have there been any surprises?  The struggles of every day financial demands do not appear to have stifled the clients' ambitions -- despite the immediate challenges, the clients are pretty optimistic about the future.  The clients always look for ways to provide a better education for their children, and a robust family atmosphere for them with the help of extended family (to help fill the void created by single parent situations).

What do you like best about volunteering with Eden Housing? Eden Housing's financial coach training was very helpful. It offered several tools that can be used quite readily. In addition, the training helped build relationship with other coaches so that we can exchange ideas and leverage each other's expertise in certain areas.

Are there any tips that you would share for someone else who is considering volunteering? Be open to understanding each individual's unique background and personality; drop any preconceptions. I suggest not rushing into offering advice too soon. It's critical that a coach fully understand the client's unique situation. Some clients may find it difficult to open up due to fear of exposing their vulnerable side.  So, I suggest that coaches continue to work on gaining and retaining mutual trust.

Tell us something we may not know about you. Any interesting facts you’d like to share about your life? In college, I co-founded a Blood Donors Club. This club recruited student volunteers to donate blood to poor/needy patients. This earned me the nick name "the vampire bat".


If you're interested in volunteering with Eden, please go to Volunteer with Eden Housing.



For more information on how to become a volunteer or to attend a volunteer orientation, please email Leah.Cerri@edenhousing.org or call (510) 247-8138

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eden housing does not discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, national origin, or any other arbitrary basis.