Volunteer Spotlight: Ryan Reik - JA In The News | Junior Achievement of Central Ohio

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Volunteer Spotlight: Ryan Reik

How & when did you first get involved with JA? Ryan Reik

I participated in JA as a 4th grader in the mid-90's. It had such an impact on the way that I viewed business and the world at large that, as an adult, I decided I needed to pay it forward. I have been volunteering with Junior Achievement since 2011 in both central Ohio and Austin, Texas.

What has been your experience with JA?

I started volunteering wherever I was needed at the time. I have done classes from third grade through high school, all over central Ohio. Every class has been not only a memorable experience for me, but I often feel like I learn more than I actually teach!

Why are you passionate about JA?

I am passionate about JA because I feel like there are a large number of relatively basic life skills that kids miss out on due to varying circumstances in their lives. I can go spend my five or six weeks with a group and every single time I see "the lightbulb" turn on when a kid gets it, it brings me a type of happiness I haven't experienced anywhere else.

Why do you choose to volunteer as an individual and also on the Volunteer Champions Committee?

As an individual, I volunteer to give back to a cause that helped shape who I am today. If I can help make one child's future even the slightest bit brighter, I have succeeded.

I participate as a member of the VCC committee because the most important part of being a leader is leading by example. With varying degrees of success, I am always trying to recruit new volunteers to help out here in central Ohio and I think the best way to influence that is completely immersing myself in the JA experience.

Favorite JA moment?

I started teaching down at Columbus Scioto in 2016. I was teaching two 7th grade classes in the spring and it was painfully evident that everyone was ready for summer. One student was particularly distant and hard to reach. He'd fall asleep while I was teaching, sometimes was disruptive but I could tell he had a good head on his shoulders and was bright. The 2017 school year rolls around and I get a message from Ms. Mazur at Scioto letting me know that the now 8th grade student had, on multiple occasions, asked if/when I'd be coming back to teach them again. There have been few moments in my life that I have smiled that big! And moments like that are why I will always be a champion and volunteer for Junior Achievement.

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  • "I can't think of a better gift for kids than to prepare them for success in the real world." - Aaron Bahe, Columbus City School Teacher

  • "I loved being the mayor of JA BizTown. I now have a good understanding of how busy business can be." - Gabbie Schneider, JA BizTown Student

  • "I loved my job as the CFO! It was so much fun. If I did this everyday it would be great!" - JA BizTown Student

  • "Kids are capable of more than we know. JA is a great way to demonstrate the real life skills they will all need." JA of Central Ohio Volunteer

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