Junior Achievement Program Will Start Back Up In Brainerd Lakes Area
Over 200 volunteers head to classrooms across the area in an effort to connect the students with their community. Jane Patrick is one of those volunteers who has touched the lives of young children in the Brainerd Lakes area.
“I love being in the classroom volunteering with these little children. They are a lot of fun and they all will call me Grandma Jane. Just to see the smiles on their faces and it’s a good program for the school district,” said Patrick, a Junior Achievement Volunteer.
The volunteers for Junior Achievement work directly with the teachers to set up times throughout the school year to learn about a wide range of topics depending on age group.
“To see their little faces light up when the teacher teaches them about something we’ve been learning or ‘wow, we have that in Brainerd!’ To make those real life connections is really cool,” Ashley Kunesha, first grade teacher at Lowell Elementary.
In the first grade classroom, it’s all about community. Junior Achievement teaches the kids about the importance of families and how their jobs and business contribute to the community.
“It’s kind of made the kids stop and think a little bit about helping Mom and Dad at home, helping our community clean up – ‘don’t litter, recycle,” Patrick said.
The materials for volunteers are user friendly, encouraging anyone to take part.
“It’s very prescriptive, where at the same time it allows the flexibility of the volunteer to add that personal component that they bring that makes them unique as a volunteer,” said Amy Gray, District Manager of Junior Achievement Brainerd Lakes area.
For nearly 15 years, Patrick has used her life experiences to educate local students.
“There are so many great career opportunities within our own community that so many people are unaware of. It is a great opportunity for everybody to be able to say we have opportunities for success in our own community. You don’t have to leave to be educated; you don’t have to leave to find a great career path. We have all of those opportunities right here in the Brainerd lakes area,” said Gray.
Throughout the years of Junior Achievement programs, the organization has tried to help empower kids to own their economic success.