Entries with tag volunteer appreciation .

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!


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.” 

Happy Holidays!


We're back from the Thanksgiving break here at JASTL and we couldn't be more excited for the last month of 2014!

What's going on that has our office buzzing? Not only do we love the holiday season, the time with friends and family, and the snow (at least a few of us do), but we're finally launching our 25 Reasons to Give Campaign!

Every day, between December 1 and December 25th, we’ll share with you a member of the JA family, from teachers to board members, from students to JA employees, from principals to volunteers. We’re calling it our 25 Reasons to Give Campaign because we hope it will inspire others to learn about JA and support our mission, through a financial gift or a gift of their time.

We can’t think of a better way to celebrate the holidays than shining a spotlight on those that make us great. Make sure to follow us on our Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest pages to find out who's included in our 25 Reasons to Give. 

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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