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Volunteer FAQs

What is Junior Achievement?

JA is the oldest, largest, and fastest-growing nonprofit economics education program throughout the world.   In partnership with business professionals and educators, JA inspires and prepares young people to succeed in a global economy.  JA reaches students in grades K-12 with fun, hands-on programs that teach students financial literacy and equip them with the knowledge and skills to make a better life for themselves.  All programs align with national and local curriculum standards; therefore, educators fully enjoy the opportunity to involve their students.

 

 
Who can volunteer for JA?
Our volunteers come from many diverse backgrounds.  They span all age groups and include business professionals, parents, community members, military personnel, college students, and retirees.
 

What are the qualifications?
JA makes it easy to be a big hit with the kids; all you need is enthusiasm, good communication skills and a desire to make a difference.  JA supplies all the materials you need and provides an orientation before you enter the classroom.  Once the volunteer has been through orientation, he or she does not need to repeat orientation.  This is true even if the volunteer makes a change in the grade level that he or she is teaching.

 

Can I volunteer if I do not have teaching experience?
Yes, you have LIFE experience and that is the greatest value you bring to the classroom.  We provide materials, training, and ongoing support as you enter the school world.  You provide personality and breathe life into the concepts.  You are essentially a living role-model for students to emulate.

 

What type of training is involved?

The volunteer orientation training takes approximately one hour and is available in-person or remotely.  We’ll send you information about this once you sign up as a volunteer and we start to get you scheduled for your first class.


How much time will it take to teach JA programs in the classroom?
The elementary school program is typically about an hour a week, for five weeks.  Some elementary schools choose a JA-in-a-Day where all five activities are completed in a single day!  The middle and high school programs run six to twelve weeks, depending on the specific curriculum chosen.  See Time Commitment for a breakdown

 

What if my schedule is always changing?

If you want to volunteer but have a varying schedule, it may be best to work with a partner.  Pick a fellow colleague whom you enjoy spending time with.  Collective teaching will make it fun for you and your partner and he/she can always take over the class if you have a meeting.  Or consider setting aside a day to volunteer at a JA-in-a-Day.


What age group would I teach?
JA staff will match you with a grade level of your choice.  Because JA teaches Kindergarten through 12th grade, we can match you with the age group with which you will feel most comfortable.  A volunteer may even put in a request for a specific school or teacher.


Will I have to drive far?
When JA staff recruits for each school, they try to match volunteers from nearby.  It is always the volunteer's choice which school they accept.

 

Can I volunteer at my child’s school?
We make every effort to place you where you feel most comfortable.  Sometimes there are more requests than openings and we would ask that you help us out in another spot where there is a need until we can get you into the school that you prefer.


Is JA taught during school?
While JA has some wonderful after-school programs, our core programs are taught during school hours.  The days and times for elementary school programs are agreed upon between the volunteer and teacher, for middle and high schools the days and periods may be predetermined.


Can I get JA programs in my child's school?
We are always looking for "ambassadors" to help us expand into more schools.  If there is not a JA program in your child's school, please contact our program manager at
programs@jasac.org to see how you can help.


What does JA cost?
There is no charge directly to students or their families.  The funding for the programs comes from corporations, private grants, individuals and special events.  Private and/or schools other than Title I schools are usually supported by parent clubs, or grants from specific benefactors.

 

What are some benefits to volunteering at JA?

Volunteers grow in a number of areas: communication, self-confidence, coaching talents, leadership, presentation skills, facilitation skills, and supervisory skills.  Companies who sponsor JA enhance their company image by showing their commitment to educating today’s youth.  Volunteers feel good about helping students in their community and JA can have a positive impact on employee morale!

 

What will be expected of me as a volunteer?
You will be expected to show interest in the students and their progress, encourage responsible behavior, give constructive feedback, and have fun.  By doing so, you will provide positive reinforcement and motivate the students to practice new skills.  In addition, as you share life experiences, you will help students understand realities about transitioning from school to the workplace.

 

What kind of support should I expect from the teacher?
Your partnership with the teacher is fundamental.  The teacher serves as a second consultant and should remain in the classroom throughout each session.  The law requires that a certified person be in the room at all times.  You should also expect the teacher to share any information with you that will make the program run more smoothly.  Student names, potential leaders and other information on classroom dynamics would be helpful too, such as whether or not students work well in small or large groups, and how accustomed they are to interactive, hands-on learning.  You should expect the teacher to assist your presentations, reinforce the concepts between sessions, integrate the JA experience with the content material, and manage student behavior.

 

What can I expect from the students?
Since students typically do not choose to participate, you may encounter some resistance if the teacher has not adequately prepared them.  For the most part, elementary students should be highly enthusiastic.  Review with the teacher all classroom procedures and rules, and alert students that you will maintain the same standards.  Older students are teenagers, and will act accordingly.  Therefore, it is important that you articulate your expectations to the students, for example, come to class on time, complete the required task, be cooperative, and show respect for yourself and others.  Model the behavior you expect from students - they will notice how congruent your behavior is with your message.

 

What should I wear when visiting the school?

Wear professional business attire consistent with the faculty dress code or with your line of work. When in doubt about what to wear, ask the teacher.

 

What should I do if the teacher is absent?

The teacher may or may not want you to conduct a session with a substitute teacher.  When you meet with your teacher for the first time, you should discuss how to deal with absences.  It is good practice to contact the teacher the day before your visit to confirm that "all systems are go."  If you arrive and there is a substitute, quickly give her/him an overview of the JA program, what your lesson for the day will cover and what you will require of her/him.  Remind the substitute that she/he is to stay in the classroom throughout the class.

 

Who is responsible for maintaining order and discipline in the class?

Refer all discipline problems to the teacher.  Work together with the teacher, and allow the teacher to enforce class rules and deal with behavior issues.  Remember, you are the classroom guest, not the disciplinarian.

 

How should the students address me as a volunteer?
School protocol dictates that students refer to you by your last name preceded by Mr., Ms., or Mrs.  You should refer to teachers in the same manner.

 

How do I reward and recognize students?

Be creative, but discuss ideas with the teacher in advance.  Treat students with respect and recognize their participation – like most of us, they appreciate to verbal praise.  The best way to determine what motivates the students is to ask them during the first session.  Be sure to clear any arrangements with the teacher, especially those involving food and drink.  Always provide each student with a Certificate of Achievement at the end of the program.
 
Have a question not listed here?  Contact us at programs@jasac.org and we'll be happy to help!