Hon. Michelle Harner is a federal bankruptcy judge for the U.S. District of Maryland. She serves on the CARE Advisory Board, and the American Bankruptcy Institute Board of Directors. Judge Harner previously served as the Director of the Business Law Program at the University of Maryland. She has been a volunteer at CARE for five years.
- How did you learn about CARE?
I learned about CARE through my work with the American Bankruptcy Institute.
- Why did you decide to serve on CARE’s Advisory Board?
I see the consequences of the lack of meaningful financial education for our youth and our communities every day in my courtroom. I feel obligated to try to be part of the solution, and I believe that CARE is a wonderful way to do so. I am passionate about teaching and my work for CARE, and I am thankful to be participating in some small way.
- What do you see as CARE’s biggest area of growth?
I think both online teaching tools and family educational sessions might be potential areas of growth.
- Which of CARE’s values resonates most with you, and why? (Collaboration, Empowerment, Inclusion)
Empowerment and Inclusion, in my view, go hand-in-hand, and I think are incredibly important to CARE’s mission.
- How long have you been volunteering with CARE?
- What has surprised you the most in the years you’ve spent volunteering with CARE?
How difficult it is to spread the word about CARE to our teachers, parents, and administrators. Once someone learns about CARE, or we find the correct contact within a school or school district, the conversations are wonderful. But it is tough to get those conversations started sometimes.
- What is your most memorable or favorite story of being a volunteer?
The Maryland chapter did presentations to the entire 6th grade at an area middle school, and they were by far some of the most engaging and fun classes we taught. The kids were inquisitive and attentive, and I think they truly appreciated the presentations.
- What’s one takeaway you want students to learn from your presentation?
To be proactive about their financial futures.
- What message would you give to a volunteer just starting out?
Just do it.
10. Why do you think financial literacy is important?
It permeates every aspect of our lives and helps individuals achieve independence and stability.