As a forward-thinking company and community leader, Tech Data believes it’s never too early for kids to plan ahead and prepare for their future. And what better way to do so – than to partner with Junior Achievement (JA)?
|James Russell, III, of Tech Data, leads the students of Safety Harbor Elementary in Junior Achievement activities.
Always looking to give back to the community, a group of Tech Data volunteers met with four classes of enthusiastic fifth graders at Safety Harbor Elementary School. Their mission? To help these bright, young minds hone their life skills and prep for success in the real world.
And, it was no ordinary day. Using innovative programs developed by JA, Tech Data volunteers interacted with the students engaging them in small groups, interesting discussions, mock interviews, and even peer-to-peer presentations. Students had the opportunity to sharpen their soft skills, learn poise and confidence, and get acquainted with financial terminology to better prepare them for situations they’ll face when they enter the work world.
Junior Achievement Provides a Real-World Perspective
Led by two or three Tech Data volunteers per class, each session is divided into 45-minute engagements designed to provide the students with simulated real-life situations.
The curriculum includes:
- Free to Choose Your Work or Business – Teaches students about pricing, competition, supply, and demand by planning a tag sale.
- Innovation Nation – Students build entrepreneurial skills by developing and pricing a product and presenting their concepts in front of the class.
- Career Quest – Students participate in a scavenger hunt to uncover jobs that fit their personal skills.
- Get and Keep the Job – A mock interview format teaches job readiness and interview skills like the importance of eye contact, a firm handshake, and confidence.
- Global Connections – This puzzle approach illustrates the global economy and interconnectivity.
A Teacher’s Perspective – “JA Is Good for Kids”
JA attributes its success to multiple touchpoints—they reach every student at Safety Harbor twice a year. This forms the foundation for future JA experiences, and many students go on to volunteer at JA as adults.
“The kids love JA days because they’re engaging and making connections to real-world situations,” said Janay Troutman, Fifth Grade Teacher. “These types of programs give them an idea of the opportunities in their own backyards.”
Tech Data Opens Doors to Junior Achievement Students
“Tech Data brings value to JA on many fronts,” stated Junior Achievement Program Director Taylor Vogelsang. “Tech Data represents top-of-the-line quality volunteers, they’re always prepared, and they’re good role models for the students, encouraging them to pursue their dreams. They give the kids a real-world view. And the
fundraising from Tech Data helps cover the cost of the class materials.”
Taylor continued, “Tech Data always has an open door to Junior Achievement, and they’re willing to welcome students to their campus. Many of the kids that job shadow at Tech Data have come up through the JA program. And they come away realizing the possibilities available to them in their own community. Without volunteers, nothing would happen for JA.”
It Takes a Village – How to Get Involved in a Win-Win Encounter
Many employers support volunteer opportunities for their employees. It’s a unique way to make a difference, connect with the community, and build your company brand. And, anyone can do it – because inspiring kids isn’t limited to one discipline.
JA provides the curriculum and training for all their volunteers to make sure they’re prepared and comfortable before going into the classroom. Here’s what some Tech Data volunteers had to say about their experience:
“I had JA when I was growing up and now I can give back.” – James Russell, III
“I love kids and seeing them understand and learn things is a nice feeling.” – Dave Thomas
“I like to see kids inspired. You remember those teachers who took notice of you.” – Marcus Irvin
“It’s a way to give back to my community and build up our future leaders.” – Jasmine Brown
Want to get involved in your local Junior Achievement program? Visit https://www.juniorachievement.org/web/ja-usa/ja-programs or speak to your human resources partner about how to volunteer at your company.