Published February 17, 1998
Volume 6, Number 2

Junior Achievement Gets Straight A's from Students, Volunteers Alike

Have you ever wanted to help students understand how the world of business and economics help shape the community around them? 

You're in good company. AT&T, Dillingham Construction, Golden Grain, Lucent Technologies, and the University of Phoenix are among the companies that are supporting the efforts of Junior Achievement in local schools. 

These Hacienda businesses all support Junior Achievement's goal: To educate and inspire young people to value free enterprise, business, and economics to improve the quality of their lives. 

JA in the Bay Area
Junior Achievement, founded in 1919, brings about a partnership between business and education: the schools provide access to the students and the business community provides the financial support and volunteers needed. 

In the Bay Area, Junior Achievement reached over 40,000 students in elementary, middle, and high schools in the 1996­97 school year. Their goal for the 1997­98 year is to reach 67,000 students, including 12,000 children in the Tri-Valley, an increase of 59 percent. 

By placing volunteer lecturers in classes, the organization helps children to see a realistic and relevant view of the world beyond school, demonstrating practical application of the skills they learn in the classroom. 

Lots of Ways to Help
"Junior Achievement is funded by the community, so in order to expand our programs, we're always looking for new sponsors," says Leticia Robles, vice president of Tri-Valley operations. 

There are several ways to participate. For instance, Dillingham Construction and Golden Grain are companies that sponsor Junior Achievement activities for a whole school. In addition to making a cash contribution, these companies promote volunteer work among their employees, encouraging them to work directly in the classroom 

Individuals can also become classroom volunteers. The commitment varies depending on the grade level of the children in the class. Elementary school volunteers make five presentations, each about 45 minutes long. For junior highs and high schools, that number is raised to eight and 10 presentations, respectively.

Volunteers receive training and receive a curriculum and other materials for the presentation. "The presentations all pertain to business and our economic system," adds Robles. 

Adopt-a-Class Program Seeks Donations for Pleasanton Schools
The Adopt-a-Class committee of the Pleasanton Partnerships in Education Foundation is seeking "wish list" items for teachers, counselors, and librarians in local schools. 

Donations of the item wished for or the money necessary to buy that item are being accepted. All donations are tax deductible. 

For more information or to make a donation, call the Adopt-a-Class program at (510) 426-4357. Checks may be mailed to Adopt-a-Class, 4665 Bernal Avenue, Pleasanton, CA 94566. All gifts are welcomed.

Volunteers Rave
By all accounts, the potentially scary prospect of facing a room full of kids is actually a lot of fun. 

"It's been a great experience," says Augie Rosas, assistant customer marketing manager for Golden Grain, "The students have been very receptive and the curriculum is fantasticeverything you need to do is spelled out." 

Rosas, who has been teaching fifth graders at Donlon Elementary School, admits to some initial anxiety about volunteering. 

"I was anxious about how tough it would be," he says. "But the kids get a kick out of somebody from the business world, from real life, being there talking about what they're doing. I think that has its own appeal to them.

"Of course, feeling like you're making a difference in a child's education and being able to use some of your own experience is great."

Mike Rombach, sales director for Lucent Technologies, agrees. "The main reason I do it is the interaction with the children," he says. "With some of them, you can just really see it click in their eyes; it was such a rewarding experience to see them start to understand how it all fits together." 

For more information about becoming a Junior Achievement sponsor or volunteer, contact Leticia Robles at (650) 737-0370. 


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