The Reality of Money

Garner High is doing their Reality of Money interactive lesson to teach students how to handle their finances. Alan’s not one to toot his own horn often. However it’s a great thing to be part of a community and to help out. We volunteered to help this week on Wednesday, though the event is on-going.

Garner Magnet High School

Garner Magnet High School

Garner Magnet High School has long been the only High School in Garner back to when Alan Youngblood was there. That all changed about 4 years ago when South Garner High opened for students.

GMHS is known primarily for sports and is where Alan first picked up his love for sports that flourished much more during his time at NC State. Read more about the school and notable alumni like singer Scotty McCreery, olympic gold medalist Randolph Ross, and current NFL stars Nyheim Hines and Richard Medlin.

The Reality of Money

Sounds kind of good to me, don’t you think? Were that it really was the reality of us all getting money. This event simulates what it’s like to have a budget and expenses as an adult. The students make payments and plans while contributing to savings. Most of you reading this have learned from years of practice, and the students experience it for the first time. Alan heard about this through Paige who is the career advisor at the school. If you’re interested in other opportunities and live in the area contact us and we can get you connected.

New Curriculum for a New Reality

The program has been designed in large part as a cooperation with the NC State Employees Credit Union. Alan uses them for his personal finances. He also recommends them as one of the best employee benefits ever for North Carolina state employees.

Each volunteer shift consists of two sessions or class periods with a couple of classes of students participating. During break Alan chatted with the other volunteers some who are teachers or faculty at the school. They said this is part of a new curriculum for the students to learn about how to manage their money.

When I attended Garner High in the late 90’s through early 00’s, the curriculum didn’t have these kind of ingenuous and practical lessons. Luckily I had a great teacher in Drew Cook who is now an Assistant Superintendent for Wake County Public Schools. When we got our schedules back then they printed them out for us at orientation. Mr. Cook taught Economics, Legal, and Political Systems but the printer at that time didn’t have extra space and it showed up abbreviated on our schedules. “EcoLePSys?!?” What is this, some kind of disease? Joking aside, Mr. Cook was an excellent teacher and used a lot of great examples to demonstrate complex concepts in economics, among the other subjects. Further, he’s just a wonderful person that gives back to the community. So here I am all these years later giving back a bit to help the students now learn some of these lessons which are thankfully a part of everyone’s curriculum.

Alan Youngblood

Lessons in Finance

The students each got randomly assigned a sheet with demographics for their imagined adult life. Their sheets gave them a marital status, children, student loan debts, their education level, credit score, and current salary. It also has a basic ledger for a checking account and savings account.

The Best for Last

Alan worked at the “Next Payday” table. He helped the students move to the next month of the experience and collect another paycheck. Naturally, some students wanted to do this first but they had to go through all necessary and discretionary spending. So Alan helped out at some of the other tables where they purchased expenses.

Before a new paycheck the students decided what to do with left over money. Some chose savings, some wanted to keep it in their checking accounts for a big expense, some rethought their purchases.

Though simply a simulation many of the students had those moments where it clicked. They saw where it was important to put money in savings, not spend everything they had, or get higher education. Others learned how to do accounting to be aware of their money.

Vintage Church Firewall

firewall icon

New network, new challenges

Vintage church prepared for growth by upgrading their Internet connection. However a faster network alone isn’t enough for an expanding organization. They needed a more robust protection against the growing list of cyber threats that increasingly face everyone. The church has been live-streaming church gathering since the global pandemic began in early 2020. Additionally, Vintage hosts Wake County Public Schools students and Triangle area YMCA counselors for coronavirus safe classroom learning. They needed a robust solution for a Vintage church firewall.

Defending the kingdom

Growing organizations require growing networks which require a stronger dependable line of defense against cyber threats. Firewalls act as a gate in between you and the Internet. They allow authorized users and actions while preventing others from doing anything with your data.

We wish we were making up the risk of cyber threats, but alas, it’s very real and increasing constantly. Organizations are increasingly targeted by ransomware. This virus locks out users from their computers while asking for a ransom to be paid to regain access. We strongly warn you not to negotiate with anyone attempting a ransom. Anyone that starts off with a bad faith argument is clearly not trustworthy. We model patience and resolve to earn your trust instead of demanding it.

Threats come in different forms as viruses or surveillance, or denial of service attacks that hinder your network from working. Malicious actors don’t give you a free pass if you’re a non-profit organization. Vintage needed a reliable solution without the large enterprise price.

Security without compromise and without breaking the budget

You may have heard of the industry leader Cisco systems that’s down the street in Cary, NC. They lead the industry because they make great products. But there’s also many other great options on the market now. Vintage Church decided on a firewall by Juniper Networks who make top-notch network equipment and charge more reasonable prices.

Vintage Church Firewall

We found a Juniper SRX device that does routing in addition to the firewall at a fraction of the cost. The equipment and licenses were roughly half of what some other systems cost.

The Vintage church firewall is configured specifically for their needs confidently securing their network.

Rest assured

Firewalls prevent all traffic incoming from the Internet unless specifically allowed in by configuration or a user’s unwitting actions. Hackers, overbearing government agencies, overbearing corporate agencies, and other malicious actors simply have no access into a firewall. Additionally Vintage has decided to use Juniper’s Unified Threat Management (UTM). UTM allows intrusion detection and prevention, URL filtering, and network-wide anti-virus. This proactive approach stops many cyber threats before they ever start.

Your business is your business. Let’s keep it that way.

Vintage Church’s staff and congregation actively help the community. They are obviously not intentionally doing anything harmful. When you provide Internet access or you take care of others you also need to take care of them digitally. Oak City IT provides peace of mind. You have a trust-worthy partner helping you manage confident control of your data.