Businesses, Volunteers Support Junior Achievement

Knowledge is power and Junior Achievement of the Bay Area is working to provide it to elementary, middle and high school students in the Tri-Valley and Bay Area.

Through a variety of Junior Achievement programs, volunteers go into classrooms to educate and inspire young people to value free enterprise and business in order to make their lives better.

"It's never too early to teach children about making good choices," says Toby Brink, director of Tri-Valley/Tri-Cities operations. "We teach and try to inspire children to look at the steps they need to reach their goals."

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 to carry out the program.

The classroom provides a fun experience during the Junior Achievement classes with lively discussions and a variety of hands-on learning activities.

Brink said that volunteers working last year at Fairlands and this year at Donlon elementary schools have given young people the opportunity to experience the world of business, meet real-life role models, and see the connection between education and work. "There's nothing like bringing a real-life example of a successful person into the classroom," he noted.

The commitment to Junior Achievement is backed by businesses who believe strongly in the organization's goals. A number of Hacienda employees have participated in the group's programs, including Rick Butler and Michael D. Rombach of Lucent Technologies and Darrell Garner of Creative Computer Solutions, all of whom have served on the Tri-Valley/Tri-Cities advisory boards.

Joining the Hacienda board members in 1998-99 were contributions and volunteers from AT&T, Dillingham Construction Corporation, Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream, Inc., Golden Grain, Lucent Technologies, McDonald's, Pacific Bell, Pacific Telesis Foundation, PeopleSoft, Sun Microsystems, and Tanner Insurance Brokers, Inc.

Top honors also went to Pacific Bell and Lucent Technologies for each serving over 1,000 students during the year.

Volunteers are enthusiastically welcomed into the program. If you would like to donate a small amount of time in a classroom, call Brink at (925) 462-5353 or (650) 737-0370. A number of step-by-step lesson plans are available and no teaching experience is required.

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