Eli Colmenero’s first experience with Junior Achievement was during a volunteer day at MarksNelson. With his team at MarksNelson, Eli was excited to head out of the office with a group of his colleagues and spend the day making an impact for Junior Achievement kids. While they volunteered behind the scenes, they made a difference on the front lines.
“It was a neat opportunity to interact with people who work for the same company that I don't get to see every day,” Eli shares. “We piled into my car, went down to the Junior Achievement office and helped prepare the teaching packets that are used in the field by volunteers.”
During his volunteer day at Junior Achievement, Eli learned just how much goes into teaching a classroom of kids. As he and his team helped assemble each packet and put all the pieces together, Eli got a firsthand look into the depth of JA curriculum.
“Knowing the packets will be used by students who are learning life skills they otherwise wouldn't be exposed to was the most rewarding,” Eli says. “That is also serving a population that needs that information the most. This volunteering experience was very enjoyable. The staff was really great, very nice and helpful. We really had a lot of fun.”
Junior Achievement’s volunteer opportunities are many — from front-of-classroom mentoring opportunities to job fairs and events and everything in between. And volunteers like Eli and his colleagues, who contribute behind-the-scenes, make a crucial impact too.
With volunteer work like this that’s outside the school environment, Eli says, “It’s just the fact that this is an organization that helps kids out. Junior Achievement not only facilitates services that go out to the community, but the organization also encourages kids to think about their communities as well. Anytime we can help the community help itself is very rewarding. We might not see the immediate fruits of that investment, but it’s something we all benefit from in Kansas City.”
When Eli gives back to the community, he looks for organizations with two components: an emphasis on children and the opportunity to support an underserved demographic. “That’s what sets Junior Achievement apart in my mind,” Eli notes. “It’s a needed service for a community that’s underserved.”
MarksNelson’s commitment to serve its clients through financial matters is a perfect connection to Junior Achievement’s goals. “As far as interests go, giving back to JA is almost a no brainer,” Eli explains. “MarksNelson is dedicated to giving back. It's been a part of the firm for quite a long time. We really connect with organizations that need volunteers, not just monetary support. Volunteering with Junior Achievement was a very positive experience and I really enjoyed it.”
During the MarksNelson volunteer day with Junior Achievement, Eli was surprised to see just how much of a team-building experience it was for their group. “Here was my group working hand in hand together,” Eli says. “That was happening for my group and I know it will for others in the future.”
When our community comes together, we all rise. And when you support Junior Achievement — no matter how you help! — you support the next generation of students.