Back to School or Why I am a JA Volunteer

Written by Nancy, a JA volunteer. Nancy is on the right (at her company's show this July).

For many of us "back to school" is a relief, but it can be somewhat stressful. For me, it's being a mother of three girls and working full-time from home. 

I am happy to get my "office" back. Yet, I dread everything that comes with being back to school: shopping for all the school supplies and clothes, helping with homework, shuttling the girls off to all their activities, volunteering, etc. I expect this year to be very hectic. My 11-year-old twins are going to middle school, and my youngest daughter will remain at elementary school. 

I know, I know. People tell me, "Don't volunteer at school if your life is so busy and crazy." However, that is the one thing I will never cut out of my busy life. 

Volunteers made one of the biggest impacts on my life. They are the reason why I am in the profession I am in today and a working mom. 

I will never forget the day school handed out a flier for this program called Junior Achievement (JA). I was in 9th grade in Mira Mesa High School and had never heard of it before. 

The flyer stated that it was a program for high school students that helps you start a company. It included developing and marketing a product and gave the ability to earn a profit. The people who helped with it were working professionals and volunteered with JA to give high school students insight into the "business world."

This sounded so interesting to me. I decided to give it a try. 

This was all done after school and after volunteers got off work. We had to commit to attending this program once a week and for an entire semester. This was a lot of dedication on the students and volunteers.

Because of JA and the volunteers, I was able to experience every aspect of how a company works--all while in high school!

This experience made me decide that I wanted a career as a buyer in a manufacturing corporation. 

I ended up having a real-world work experience in high school. When I graduated, I got a job in the manufacturing industry. I made sure that every company I worked for had a higher education reimbursement program so that I could work full-time and go to college as well.

It took me longer to get my degree. However, when it was all said and done, I had a Bachelor of Science in Business Management. It was 100 percent paid for by the companies.

I am not saying that this is the road that every person should take. But this gave me an opportunity to go to college without debt, start a career and ensure promotional opportunities by getting my college degree along the way. 

If it wasn't for JA and the volunteers, I would have never known about the "business world." For that, I will always be grateful and thankful to JA and the volunteers. Today, I am still in the manufacturing industry and have 29 years of experience under my belt--which is not bad for being 44 years old!

Did you participate in Junior Achievement at school? Register as a JA alum today at

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