By Kimberly Paulk, SHARECharlotte.com, a free, easy and local website that makes it easy to learn about and engage with our local nonprofits.
“The object of teaching a child is to enable him to get along without a teacher.” ― Elbert Hubbard
Twenty sets of eyes watched me walk up the center of the classroom, clutching my Junior Achievement materials and wondering what I’d gotten myself into. My first few moments as a JA volunteer were, I’ll admit, a little scary. Why? Because I’d never done it before.
My company had committed two employees to teach a JA course to a local fifth grade class. I remember signing up enthusiastically, marking the dates on my calendar, being impressed with the materials and lessons plans JA provided, and then sitting in my car in the school parking lot for a full five minutes when it hit me that I was about to stand in front of a classroom of kids and try to hold their attention for 60 minutes. Yikes.
But that was before I met Marquis, the most inquisitive kid in the room who, I like to think, looked forward to our visits each week. It was before I realized the JA lessons plans literally walk volunteers through every step of the process, and before I knew how welcoming the kids would be when we arrived.
Junior Achievement’s mission is to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy with an end result of empowering young people to own their economic success. The things volunteers cover with the kids are practical, important skills they need to know to succeed economically. It’s good stuff, and it doesn’t take a huge time commitment to be a JA volunteer. It’s also an experience many volunteers enjoy so much they do it again (after my first experience I volunteered again for several years at my son’s school).
Interested in learning more? Check out Junior Achievement’s profile on SHARE Charlotte. If you’d like to jump in and get started, now is the perfect time as they kick off #300in30, a campaign to bring on 300 new JA volunteers during the month of April!
#300in30 – JA connects you with an educator at the school of your choice, provides all curriculum materials, and you schedule the hour-long visits (only five to seven total) at your convenience. New volunteers attend a JA training (it can be in-person or via web conference).