January Volunteer of the Month - Tom Schmidt

As we begin a new year with high hopes and bright expectations, we would like to celebrate one of our star JA volunteers who has gone above and beyond to bring about shining new beginnings to students all throughout San Diego County.

For over 10 years, Tom Schmidt has been an influential participant as well as a passionate supporter of JA. He has volunteered for our in-class programs at the elementary and high schools, and JA BizTown. He also coordinated several JA Bowl-A-Thons and attended JA events.

Whenever Tom asks for a list of our volunteer needs for the year, he does not just sign up for one or two programs but three or four at a time.

For Tom, Junior Achievement means "making a simple contribution of volunteered time, which could make a difference in the lives of the young students, by providing them something as simple as positive attention and guidance in thinking about their futures.”

Here is a memorable story from one of his volunteer experiences:

“I concluded my fifth grade instruction one year by providing a $1 check payable to each student and signed by me.

At the end of the class, they could give the check back to me in exchange for a George Washington dollar coin. They were all excited as probably none of them had ever had a check written to them for cash!  

All went well in exchanging the checks for the coins until I got to the last young man. He politely said, “No, thank you, I’d prefer to keep the check!”

Now, I’m not sure why he valued this worthless check more than the $1 coin (maybe he felt my autograph would be valuable someday… NOT), however, I wasn’t about to let him leave with my signature.

I guess he was smarter than I gave him credit for and maybe he felt my signature could be MUCH MORE valuable than $1 to him! Needless to say, I convinced him that turning in the check was of more value to him (and me), and I quickly tore up all those checks once I had his in my hands.” 

Tom not only impacts students throughout San Diego County, he has also become a part of our JA family. Thanks, Tom!

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