Entries with tag volunteer .

April Volunteer Hero

Volunteering and philanthropy comes naturally for Robert White III, with a decade-long career in nonprofit work. Last year, Robert joined JA’s Young Professionals Advisory Board (YPAB) and brought his generosity and volunteer experience along with him.

He explained his interest in working with JA by saying, “I wanted to find an organization that had an excellent track record in youth development and provided opportunities to all area youth to live, learn, and grow to be consistent contributors to society.”

After joining YPAB, Robert participated in the Young Professional’s JA in a Day, teaching elementary students. Being in the classroom immediately reminded him of his “days of being in the classroom working with brilliant young minds.” 

“The coolest part was when several students asked me if I'd come back to visit in the future,” Robert said.  “As a result, I signed up to become a volunteer and started working with young people in the after school program.” 

What’s more, Robert feels like JA has given him something too. “JA has provided me with an opportunity to empower young people, learn the ropes of being a board member, and make connections that may take me to the next level in both my personal and professional life.”

Thanks to volunteers like Robert, Junior Achievement of Greater St. Louis is able to reach more students and connect with young professionals, who are the next generation of leaders in the region.

The best part of the whole thing, according to Robert is, “Knowing that my efforts are making a positive impact in the lives of young people.”

JA Hero Gives Nearly Four Decades of Service


“Sure, I’d love to come in and talk about my experience with Junior Achievement. I have to run to the airport that morning, but I can come by after that.” With that, my meeting with Ed True was scheduled. What I didn’t know was that he was going to the airport to drop off international students as part of his work with the Central States Rotary Youth Exchange Program. Making time to speak with us about JA, in between his other volunteer responsibilities, is indicative of Ed True’s life philosophy of giving back to the community.

A retired Air Force pilot, True has been living in O’Fallon for 35 years and has been an Alderman since 1999. He began volunteering with Junior Achievement 39 years ago, working with eighth graders. He explains his experience teaching students as rewarding and credits it with his career move into teaching.

“I was not in the teaching field per say, but at least I started doing it with JA and now, today and for the last 15 years, I’ve been teaching at the college level.” 

In addition to his volunteer work with JA, True has served as a board member for the Leukemia Society, Boy Scouts of America, Senior Olympics, O’Fallon Chamber of Commerce, Bradley Alumni Association, St. Louis Sports Commission, Public Safety Committee, Parks and Environment Board, as well as local school boards.

Thanks to volunteers like Ed True, JA was able to reach over 140,000 students during the 2013-2014 school year. We are so excited to honor True with our first ever Volunteer of the Month award for his decades of service.

Thanks Ed!


JA Goes Back to School


It’s back to school time at JA! We’re coordinating with teachers, catching up with our volunteers, and making sure our program kits are ready to go. On top of that, we are in the middle of exciting changes to two of our programs!

For the upcoming school year, both JA Finance Park and the JA Company Program will include more opportunities for students to use technology as JA Finance Park goes paperless and the JA Company Program will begin using a blended method of both in-person instruction and on-line tools. Check out this video to learn more about the updates to the JA Company Program and here to learn more about the new JA Finance Park!

We are also in the process of updating businesses and the overall look of JA Finance Park. Stay tuned for before and after pictures of the facility!

For all the students and parents getting back into the swing of a new school year, JA wishes you good luck and success! We can’t wait to see you this year!

10 Reasons You Should Start Volunteering Today


The hours in our days are filled with working to support our families, car-pooling kids to extra-curricular activities, running errands and more.  Volunteering may be something you have always had a desire to pursue, but due to other priorities – it got pushed aside. 

When considering the benefits of volunteering, you may find that the impact it has on your life, your well-being and your community is truly worth the time invested.  We’ve compiled a top 10 list of the benefits of volunteering; but, don’t be surprised if after your first experience – you discover even more.


  1. Make a difference in someone else’s life. Volunteers are absolutely critical to the work of countless non profits. As of 2012, over 64.5 million Americans volunteered 7.9 billion hours, doing everything from walking dogs at the local animal shelter to mentoring a child. The economic value of American volunteers in 2012 was an estimated $175 billion dollars! 
  2. Gain work experience that will improve your resume – making you more attractive to future employers. In fact, a June 2013 report compiled by the Corporation for National and Community Service, found that unemployed volunteers have a 27 percent higher chance than non volunteers of finding a job.
  3. Become a mentor and share your expertise with others. Who did you look up to when you were a child? Did someone help you when you were first starting out in your career? You can be that support system for someone just starting out!
  4. Improve your mental and physical health. The old adage that it's better to give than to receive holds true with volunteering. Research conducted by the UnitedHealth Group showed that 94 percent of respondents who volunteered in the last 12 months said that volunteering improved their mood.
  5. Develop a new skill or gain knowledge about an unfamiliar subject. From public speaking to computer programming, volunteering can provide an opportunity for you to try out something new.   
  6. Network, make new connections and friends. Volunteering gives you the chance to interact with people outside of your immediate social and career network.   
  7. Return the favor. Perhaps you’ve been helped in the past and want to give back to simply express gratitude to that same organization.
  8. Lead by example. Whether you're a business owner, manager, teacher, or parent, you probably have someone that looks up to you. By volunteering, you are demonstrating the importance of giving back and helping others in your community. 
  9. Gain self-confidence by making an impact in your community. There are few things in life that provide more satisfaction than helping others without expecting something in return. You'll feel great about yourself and a community need will have been met. 
  10. Increase your social skills by communicating with others that have a common interest. Not only will you meet and interact with tons of people while you are volunteering, many non profits provide social events for their volunteers. 

So what are you waiting for? JA is always in need of volunteers, and getting started is easy!  You provide the enthusiasm, life experience, and a willingness to teach children about how you took chances to shoot for the stars.  We’ll provide the training, curriculum, and a classroom ready to meet you.

Click here to join us, and start making a difference in the lives of tomorrow’s leaders – today.

Meet our JA Volunteer Hero for the Month of October

When we asked around for nominations for our October Volunteer Hero, we immediatly got an email from a program manager nominating Theresa Kipper, telling us, "She's always wililng to go above and beyond!" 

Kipper, Corporate Manager for Financial Systems and Applications with SSM Health Care, first heard about Junior Achievement as a participant when she was in high school.

After participating, and still in high school, she began volunteering to teach elementary students about the basics of business and money management. Since then, she's volunteered with JA, teaching over two dozen classes. 

How does she feel JA has helped her in her career? 

"It makes you think about what you do. I work in healthcare and while i don't directly work with patients, you'll hear comments... [about] what they think of insurance and things. And it makes you reflect on what you're doing in the industry and how people really perceive what you do."

Volunteers like Theresa make us reflect on what we do too! Thanks Theresa for being a JA Volunteer Hero!


November Volunteer Hero


Junior Achievement was founded in 1919 and has had a presence in the St. Louis region since 1943. Despite our age, we understand how essential technology is to the modern workplace. As most people know, keeping your technology up-to-date is not the easiest task for a busy organization to stay on top of.

That’s why we’re so grateful for volunteers like David Swaw, our November Volunteer Hero. David has been volunteering with JA for fourteen years, supporting the computer systems for the entire Dennis and Judy Jones Free Enterprise Center. This includes our office network as well as the systems used to enhance the student’s capstone experience.

How did David initially get involved with JA? It actually runs in the family. His father was a volunteer with the JA Company Program.

“I remember my dad talking about the program and the product that they made as a group,” David recalled, “It was an automobile safety light made from a headlight, toilet plunger, and some wiring.”

As fate would have it, a company David was working for donated computer services to JA. Originally assigned a four hour project, he’s been helping out ever since.

“It is an amazing place that transforms minds and opens up opportunities that students may never have thought were available to them,” he explained. “All you have to do is share your enthusiasm for your work with the students and listen to the dreams they share with you.”

“Junior Achievement empowers the minds of young people today, and those minds will create the jobs of the future.” We couldn’t have said it better.

Thanks David! 

March Volunteer Hero


“All the kids love when I wear this tie,” Wayne Allen explained to me when he arrived at JA’s headquarters to receive his volunteer of the month award. The tie, covered in monopoly money, seems fitting for the IT professional who, for nearly twenty years, has been teaching students about financial literacy through Junior Achievement’s in-school programs.

“One of my most memorable experiences would have to be when a high school senior, who was volunteering at the elementary school where I was instructing, came up to me and shared how much she had enjoyed and remembered from the sessions I presented to her class when she was in 4th grade.”

Wayne’s first volunteer assignment was in March of 1996 when his oldest daughter’s elementary school encouraged parents to volunteer. 19 years later, he still enjoys his time in the classroom, helping students gain financial literacy skills.

“Learning how to address students on the subject of financial literacy has benefited me in understanding how to approach other subjects, whether personal or professional, to people of all ages.” Wayne explained.

Wayne’s employer, MasterCard, is also a big supporter of JA, participating in the JA Bowl-A-Thon and holding an annual JA in a Day event with more than 400 employee volunteers participating.  

“It was amazing to see so many at MasterCard enjoy presenting the JA material as much as I do,” Wayne said, recalling the last JA in a Day he participated in with MasterCard.

When I asked him what we would tell someone thinking about getting involved with Junior Achievement, Wayne was quick to reply. “Don’t wait any longer,” he said. “If you have school age children, find out if their teacher would be interested in having the JA program presented in their class. You will have lots of fun and will impact the financial understanding of the children for their lifetime.”

“Agreeing to sacrifice a few hours of my time back in 1996 has led me to years of enjoying the opportunities to share the knowledge about handling money.” 

February Volunteer Hero


When Gretchen McGee attended a luncheon a little over two years ago, she didn’t realize it would lead to a rewarding volunteer opportunity with Junior Achievement.

“When I heard the organization was seeking volunteers, their enthusiasm was contagious,” she explained. “I came back to work and sent an email to all of my co-workers asking for additional volunteers. Within a few hours, I had 22 responses, many of them even volunteered to teach more than one class. I was overwhelmed with pride! It is very rewarding to work for a company filled with so many people who care!”

Since then, she had taught the JA kindergarten program, JA Ourselves, and this year she will teach the 4th grade program, JA Our Region. For Gretchen, teaching young people financial literacy skills is especially important. “I have been employed in banking for over 35 years,” she said. “Every day I see the need to educate the public about financial responsibility. We need to start early and reinforce this as often as possible.”

When asked the best part about volunteering with JA, the answer was an easy one, “Knowing that you are making a difference, even in a small way, feels so good!”

Thanks to Gretchen and all of our volunteers for making JA strong! Keep an eye out for our #ShowTheLove Campaign, starting this Sunday, February 7. It’s a way for us to say thank you to our more than 7,500 volunteers for giving of both their time and talents to help young people. 

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