We are proud to highlight the programs, students, teachers and volunteers of Junior Achievement of Eastern North Carolina. Our goal in raising awareness through the media is to increase the number of students we can positively impact in our service area. Below you will find recent interviews with JA volunteers, media, press releases and our recently recognized ambassadors.

An interview with Steve McLaurin

Steve McLaurin Enjoys Imparting Life Lessons

Running a 69-year-old parking management company that is one of the largest and most highly regarded parking firms in the Southeastern United States takes a lot of time and effort. So, you could forgive Steve McLaurin, vice president of Raleigh-based McLaurin Parking, if he had little time for other pursuits.

Except that McLaurin feels he has a lot to offer the youth of today. He has been volunteering for Junior Achievement of Eastern North Carolina since 1987 and still teaches courses in entrepreneurship, the basics of business, and taking risks.

McLaurin first heard about Junior Achievement at a meeting of the Lions Club. "It piqued my interest and I knew someone on the board," he said. "I went through training and I've been volunteering with JA ever since."

Although he's taught several different grades, he prefers to teach middle and high schoolers. Running a second-generation business certainly has its challenges, as does teaching economics and business skills to schoolkids for 29 years. However, McLaurin notes that the personal rewards make up for the time commitment and occasional scheduling conflicts.

He recounts one particularly memorable incident. "I had a class that was not as academically stellar as some others, and I wasn't sure if I was getting through to them," he said. "It made me question if my teaching methods were getting tired and ineffective."

About two months later, an individual approached him in a parking lot and asked if he had recently taught a course at Garner High School. When McLaurin said he had, the man told him that his son was a good kid but that he never really achieved his potential in school. However, after the JA course, the son announced he was going to join the Coast Guard after graduation and then get them to pay for his college education.

"I asked him what I might have said that clicked with his son, and he said it wasn't one thing, it was cumulative," McLaurin adds. "That reinforced to me that it's not me, it's the message. What we teach prepares you for life."

That encounter re-energized McLaurin, who re-dedicated himself to his JA volunteerism. Sprinkled amid his teachings are little nuggets of wisdom:

·        Kids tune out if you tell them you're going to talk about economics. Instead, he talks about cars, pizzas, summer jobs, and things students can relate to.

·        Every job involves solving problems, and we go to school to learn how to solve bigger problems.

·        Entrepreneurship involves weighing risks vs. rewards. You can be a good employee for someone else, but that involves little risk. If you want to be your own boss, you will have to learn to deal with risk.

McLaurin says he's been involved with JA for so long that it's now part of his life. To anyone interested in volunteering with the organization, he advises, "You will impact youth if you communicate your message with vigor. They have as much zest as any of us, and if you present material in a creative way, it will spark their interest. You will have an impact and open their eyes. For yourself, you will learn that the future is going to be okay, and that you helped provide hope to the next generation."

JA salutes Steve McLaurin and expresses our gratitude for his decades of dedication.



JA of Eastern NC in the news:

JA Board Chair Clayton Dorn of UPS and JA President Bebee Lee interview with on Tarheel Talk with Sonya Williams to discuss JAENC Peak Performance Award recognition.