One of our fantastic volunteers, Patricia Neugent, who is an Internal Auditor with ITW, has volunteered for six years and shared why she is so dedicated and keeps teaching JA programs in her community.
How did you learn about Junior Achievement and what prompted you to get involved?
I learned about Junior Achievement because I had it in middle school and my dad taught it as well. It was really interesting learning business and economics topics in a classroom setting, since I didn’t really know much about it outside of that. When my first employer offered us the opportunity to participate in JA in a Day, I jumped at the chance.
In what ways are you involved as a volunteer with Junior Achievement?
I have done several JA in a Day events, and have taught 1-2 classes of grade school and high school students in the traditional 5 class format the last couple years. I have also volunteered for the JA You’re Hired Challenge and spoken to high school business classes as a representative of JA about my accounting and auditing career.
Why do you come back to volunteer?
It’s a way to give back to the community that fits well with what I have done in my career so far. I can give students at a younger age an idea of what it is like in the business world and share my knowledge in this way. Connecting with the students and seeing how they apply the concepts you are teaching them to their experiences is always fun.
What have you learned or how have you been personally affected from your experience with Junior Achievement?
It’s always a great feeling to have the kids you are teaching excited about seeing you again. Even if it may seem that they aren’t that interested in what you are teaching that day, making them laugh and hearing their stories is a wonderful experience (no matter how off topic). I also feel like teaching in this setting helps my own business skills. It is tough to keep the attention of a classroom of young children (or bored high schoolers), so teaching JA has taught me to be a more dynamic presenter and speaker as well.
Do you have any advice for individuals considering volunteering with Junior Achievement?
If the opportunity presents itself to get involved with JA, definitely jump at the chance. If a traditional 5-class setting doesn’t work with your schedule, try out JA in a day and spend the morning with students. It’s a great experience to connect with kids and it may spark interest in the business world at a young age. Plus, there are few rooms that are harder to speak to and captivate than a room of restless 4th graders, so you can learn a lot from your experiences that you can apply on the job as well.