With a desire to give back to the community that had taken them in, Candice carved out a unique volunteering opportunity to share her valuable skill set.
When she and her husband, an Army veteran, moved from Darwin to settle in Warrnambool, they were quickly introduced to the local RSL and RSL Active program.
"We’ve loved being around like-minded people, and the RSL has worked so hard to get anybody with a military connection to local events and build up the veteran community in Warrnambool."
Following a request from the Warrnambool RSL in 2019 for ideas to apply for a Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) community grant, Candice had an idea that was led by her own life experiences.
“I remember talking to my husband about our 10 year plan and the holidays we’d take to New York, Thailand, Japan and his response was ‘that’s really great, but with what money?’”
It triggered Candice to take stock of their finances, and together they rid themselves of over $50,000 of debt.
“Remembering this, I thought our Warrnambool RSL members could benefit from financial education.”
So, with a successful DVA grant application, Candice’s financial course was born.
Candice invested months of planning and researching to create the course work, intending to educate veterans and their families on budgeting, saving, and investing.
"The course perfectly fits in with the RSL that wants its community to thrive, not just survive. One element of that is being in control of your money."
After a lot of preparatory work and multiple COVID interruptions, the course was finally able to get underway in May 2021.
"Importantly, people need to know how information is relevant to them personally in their situation, how it relates to their lives. Everyone can Google and look stuff up online now. There’s no lack of information, but it’s the lack of relevance, perhaps. ‘What do I do next?’"
Nine families participated in the program, which was completed over a six month period.
"Collectively, they paid off $46,000 in debt! I think pretty much everyone was debt-free. It was just outstanding."
Candice is just one of the hundreds of volunteers that generously give their time to the RSL, allowing it to offer diverse services and programs to veterans and their families.