A Volunteer Perspective -10 years of Service
I have had the pleasure to volunteer with Junior Achievement of the Triad for several years. If you were to ask me what stands out the most from my time in the classroom, I would identify several things:
- The opportunity to help students learn about financial literacy, entrepreneurship and work readiness. Each of these ‘pillars’ can help students put into context the rest of their school learning and spark a vision of connecting to the future. For example, just recently I had the chance to work with a student who is interested in fixing cars. As we talked about income and budgeting and developing good credit, he could see more clearly a pathway to building his own future with a business that is founded on his interest in auto repairs.
- The opportunity to help students to get or stay excited about learning. There are a handful of careers with which most students are familiar – being a doctor or nurse, being a police officer, being a teacher, etc.. By providing an introduction to the sixteen career clusters and the variety of pathways within each of them, Junior Achievement can open the eyes of students to seeing potential work pathways for themselves in the future – like CNC Machinist, cybersecurity technician and logistics planner. As they learn about what it takes to achieve career outcomes that appeal to them, students can get both excited and motivated to engage in their studies as an important and necessary step on that path.
- The opportunity to make learning fun. Each of the JA curriculum programs includes a variety of hands-on activities, including games (Risk Bingo!) and exercises. Each of those activities provides an opportunity for me as a volunteer to engage the students in a fun and effective learning experience. Learning itself has often been fun for me, and the JA lessons give me an opportunity to share my enjoyment of learning with a classroom and encourage students to find their own place and pathway to engage in learning in positive and creative ways.
- The opportunity to provide attention to students and to their futures. By being in the classroom and participating with a group of students, I have the opportunity to envision with them what the future might hold for them. In turn, students have another adult who shows up for them and reinforces that their futures matter and that each of them can find their own pathway to success based on their own skills and interests.
Any one of these things can make a positive difference for a student. The opportunity to address all of them is what has drawn me back to the classroom time and again. And as we all continue to find our way in the wake of the pandemic, volunteering with JA and our local schools is a great way to build a brighter future together. Won’t you join me?
Media Contacts:Jim Donnelly
Strategic Choices Inc.