Dan Blocker is one of DuPage’s best volunteers. Since 2006, he has personally mentored over 125 classrooms, empowering over 2,800 students!

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Dan had originally started off with teaching one class, but his impact in the classroom soon spread, to 5th grade teachers across the District requesting this true role model! And then when a 5th grade teacher moved to 3rd grade, his participation continued to grow. He truly makings long lasting partnerships with each teacher that he works with. JA would not be able to be as successful without true community leaders like Dan Blocker. Here is why he volunteers:

“Volunteering over the past 10 years or so with JA has been a very gratifying part of my life. I always consider it a privilege any time a teacher invites me into a classroom and entrusts me with nearly an hour’s worth of valuable time. A rough count shows I’ve done over 600 individual sessions of classroom instruction – and honestly, never a bad one amongst them. Thanks to Junior Achievement and their solid reputation, I’m set up not just to succeed but to flourish.

JA provides a structured format and materials for each session and grade level. However, the greatest benefit as I see it, is they encourage each volunteer to draw upon their own individual experience, talents and personality. After all, the point is not just to teach topical concepts and key terms. A JA volunteer is so much more. You are ultimately a role model: attitude, appearance, energy, enthusiasm, sense of humor and skill at communicating are all on full display. Inspiring a classroom, or even a few of the students, is not an easy proposition. But when accomplished, no greater sense of joy exists.

I’ve been fortunate over the years to pair up with so many wonderful teachers. They are the noble heroes of our society. I’ve also had many instances of gratification – so numerous I can’t recall all of them. One recent moment I can relate happened about a year ago.

After finishing the five weekly sessions of fifth grade JA Our Nation, the students as they often do, gave me hand written notes of thanks. One, from a girl of 10 or 11, caught my attention that afternoon as I read each one in the stack. We had spent the week before discussing their future and the things they might love to do down the road as a career. She wrote: Thank you for being our volunteer! Because of you, I now know my passion in life. You are an amazing person. You drive from far away, you’re not getting paid, and you like doing it. I really look up to you as a role model. Thank you for teaching us.

That’s why I volunteer with Junior Achievement.”

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