Here at Central, we make an effort to get involved in our communities, and one of the many ways we do that is through Junior Achievement. Junior Achievement is a mentorship program that has been around for nearly 100 years, allowing volunteers to go to schools and speak with students about setting themselves up for future economic successes. A few of our employees; Stephanie Rasys, Aaron Urban and Joe Karnes, have had the opportunity to volunteer at schools in their area to speak with these bright, young students. Here is what the volunteers had to say about their experiences.
Q: How long have you been volunteering with Junior Achievement?
Stephanie: I started volunteering for JA in 2002, when I joined the bank.
Aaron: This is my first year of volunteering.
Joe: I have been volunteering for about five years now.
Q: What made you want to participate in the Junior Achievement program?
Stephanie: I have a huge passion for anything that supports children. I’m not a teacher, but the lesson plans are easy to follow and are full of interactive projects with the kids. Anyone can do it!
Aaron: I love being able to use my financial knowledge to help out my local community.
Joe: I feel it is very important to teach kids about money management, and also the importance of education beyond a H.S. diploma.
Q: What age groups have you had the opportunity to speak with?
Stephanie: I have had the opportunity to teach children from Kindergarten all the way through 8th grade. I was fortunate to be able to teach my kids’ classes, so that made it extra special.
Aaron: I have had the opportunity to work with a couple different age groups, 6th and 7th and 12th graders.
Joe: I have had the chance to teach 6th grade through 8th grade over the span of time.
Q: What are some examples of topic(s) you have talked with the students about?
Stephanie: In Kindergarten, it starts with learning to identify different coins and the basics of money. Moving forward they learn about how businesses operate in a town, the US, and international trade. In 8th grade, it is focused on finding a career that is a good fit, as well as the different types of jobs they can obtain with or without a degree, so they can see the pay difference and how to interview for a position. All of the programs emphasize extending their education, whether it is going on to college, or to a technical school.
Aaron: I have spoken about needs and wants, the importance of jobs, saving, credit, and numerous other financial topics.
Joe: Some of the topics I have covered include budgeting, student loans, credit/debit cards, debt, goal setting, and the value of a college degree. A wide variety of topics, but all of them are important to understand.
Q: What has been your favorite part, or your biggest takeaway from your interactions with the students?
Stephanie: The kids love the interactive projects. They are visual and a really fun way to learn about economics, business, and careers, so it makes my job easy. It also gives me an opportunity to talk about what I do and my background.
Aaron: My favorite part is answering the students’ questions. It’s wonderful seeing the eagerness they have to learn and understand the various topics. I also like knowing I may have made a small, hopefully positive, difference in their financial lives.
Joe: I like having the students tell me they learned something from my being there or telling me they are more motivated to go to college after going through the JA curriculum.
Junior Achievement has helped our employees spread their financial knowledge to the next generation. You don’t have to be a professional to volunteer, anyone can! Visit https://www.juniorachievement.org/web/ja-usa/home for information on how you can start volunteering with Junior Achievement today!