Story by Emily Robertson
Junior Achievement of South Central Kentucky works alongside local schools to empower students to take the lessons they learn in the classroom and work toward success in the world of business and economics. From kindergarten through high school, the non-profit program teaches students about the three pillars of the program: financial literacy, entrepreneurship and work readiness. After completing the Junior Achievement program, research shows that students are more likely to be successful in a job interview and a business environment.
Junior Achievement President Drew Martin works alongside two paid staff members and more than 475 community and corporate volunteers to provide lessons and activities to 9,804 students each year across Warren, Barren, Cumberland, Allen, Simpson and Logan counties.
Junior Achievement receives funding through special events throughout the year; corporate and individual contributions; and grants or foundations. Events that help fund Junior Achievement each year include the Penguin Plunge, Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame, the Annual Mini Corvette Challenge, the Junior Achievement Golf Classic and the Chili and Cheese Luncheon during WKU’s Homecoming week.
What does a Junior Achievement lesson look like in the classroom?
A typical lesson lasts 45 to 60 minutes, and includes a question and answer time, vocabulary, class discussion, an activity and a review. The three pillars are covered in age appropriate ways, ranging from learning needs vs. wants and earning and saving money in kindergarten, to identifying education and career goals in middle school, to preparing a personal financial plan in high school.
What are the qualities that make someone a successful Junior Achievement volunteer?
A great Junior Achievement volunteer is enthusiastic, dependable, patient, prepared, relatable, willing to ask questions. It is also important that they can share their unique perspective with the students.
Who benefits most from the Junior Achievement programs?
Everyone who participates in Junior Achievement finds benefits. The students have the benefit of the supplemental material and the perspective of the volunteer, the volunteer gets the student interaction and the joy of the students’ enthusiasm and the teacher gets the benefit of our programs reinforcing and supplementing what they are already teaching the students.
How did you become involved in Junior Achievement?
I first became involved with Junior Achievement in 2013 as a Junior Achievement volunteer at W.R. McNeill Elementary. I had never been involved with Junior Achievement before, and had no experience teaching or volunteering with kids. I started in a kindergarten class, and have tried to volunteer every semester since then. My goal is to eventually teach every Junior Achievement program that we offer.
How long have you lived in Bowling Green and what do you love most about the area?
I have lived in Bowling Green for almost ten years now. I came to Bowling Green as a Western Kentucky University student and stayed after graduating. I received both of my degrees from WKU, and I love to attend WKU sporting events and stay engaged with my alma mater. One of the best things about Bowling Green is the generous support shown by the community. Being one of the many non-profit organizations in town, we receive tons of generous support from individuals, foundations and corporations.