Gabor Regenyi is the Agency Director of MetLife Europe’s Hungarian Branch Office. He is responsible for managing and developing the sales network in Hungary.
Gabor also actively participates in the LifeChanger Program volunteer team, which was started in cooperation with United Way Hungary and MetLife, to promote financial understanding and empowerment among schoolchildren through education-based programming and long-term involvement.
How did you get involved with the LifeChanger program?
My colleagues invited me to join the program as an ambassador and represent it in front of the network. I am passionate about financial literacy, therefore I said yes without thinking. I was especially happy when I learned, that I would be working with socially disadvantaged children.
Why do you consider teaching financial literacy and awareness important?
Money is a tool, which we like it or not, determines our life. It is essential, that we teach our children how to handle money that we need to earn it, take care of it and maintain it, so our financial standing will stay stable later on. In Hungary, not only children but also adults have a lack of knowledge about financial literacy, therefore it is important to start teaching about financial awareness in early ages.
It is a nationwide program and you participated in not only one, but several locations, what motivated you?
On one hand, I took my ambassador role very seriously and felt obliged to give back from the knowledge I have to the society. On the other hand, we spent a lot of time in the field at primary schools, where I personally met with children, and the school environment really inspired me. I have to admit, that several times it was very moving and in the same time shocking experience to see, how many children live in poverty and under very basic conditions in Hungary, and that puts a lot of responsibility on the schools.
Do you have any moving memories, which touched your heart?
It was very moving to see several professionally dedicated teachers, who put tremendous amount of energy into teaching even under really harsh conditions. Their enthusiasm and determination give a real chance to those children, who start their life from a disadvantaged environment.
I also have a personal memory from one of the classes, where I held the activity. During the game, the students had to manage their expenses in a way that they are able to save. The children said at the end of the game: „from the leftover money we would like to buy you, Gabor.”
What did you learn as a LifeChanger volunteer? What is your takeaway from the program?
Volunteering in the program made me feel for the first time that I can actively do something for others. It inspired me so much, that within the company, I applied for other volunteer programs and I am actively looking for volunteer opportunities. I have been supporting nonprofit organizations for years with donations, however the LifeChanger program taught me, that donating time as a volunteer is taking your donation to a much higher level.
What is your message to those that are new to volunteering?
Being a volunteer is an extraordinary feeling, there is no self-interest, you open your heart and you give something totally selfless and altruistic. Even the moment when you experience this feeling is exceptional.
We don’t need to think about always something extraordinary. Maybe the volunteer work, which we believe is only a small act, means a lot to others. Therefore, I encourage everyone to become a volunteer.