All it took was teaching JA Economics for Success for Amber Rodriguez to be hooked on being a Junior Achievement (JA) volunteer. Her initial experience stemmed from volunteering on behalf of Banner Bank in Kennewick, WA, where she was a procedures and communications associate. After starting her own business following her banking career, she continued to give her time to fulfill her desire to empower today's youth.
Amber's experience in the excitement of curiosity, anticipation, and appreciation of the students she has taught through JA has given her the confidence she's needed to begin her journey in creating lesson plans and activities that strive to build confidence, leadership, communication, and creativity! Through JA, Amber has discovered a way to combine her passion for entrepreneurship and her personality to empower to give back to students in her community.
The words of wisdom she lives by? "If you're planning for a year, sow rice; if you're planning for a decade, plant trees; if you're planning for a lifetime, educate children."
Isaiah Mohammed began his entrepreneurial journey in high school. Coming from a lower income single-parent household in Norwalk, Connecticut, his exposure to the JA Company Program inspired Isaiah to dream big. In the program he and his team were able to generate over $5,000 within six months, as well as develop essential business skills, including being able to work with and manage others. Through his personal experiences in the program Isaiah was determined to use his mistakes as learning experiences and fuel his desire to do better. From the support of the General Electric volunteers, who became his mentors and coaches, Isaiah found fresh perspectives to success through career development in corporate and entrepreneurial environments.
The relationships with his mentors continued over the years and enabled him to receive an internship at General Electric and ultimately a scholarship at The University of Connecticut. Isaiah, now 24, was accepted into The Digital Technology Leadership Program at United Technologies, which led him to his current position as Product Manager at Pratt & Whitney. Over this past year, while working at P&W, Isaiah earned his MBA from the University of Hartford. He continues to apply the principles he learned as a high school student in Junior Achievement.
Jaime Berg's experience with Junior Achievement (JA) is not one of a single moment but a full circle of experiences through her time as a Board Member, Alumna, and volunteer.
Reflecting on her first experience with JA as a high school student, Jaime recalls JA being a key element in her interest in business. Throughout her first JA program, Jaime collaborated with fellow peers to determine a product to market and sell. While it took a lot of teamwork to come up with the business model and plan, the mentors who provided help didn't go unrecognized. The volunteers' time and energy are what gave Jaime and her classmates a positive look into real-life in business.
While in her first job after she graduated from college, Jaime came across an opportunity to return the favor and become a volunteer for JA. The volunteer opportunity took her back to her junior high school where she taught 7th graders for several years. She shared with them how to open bank accounts, create a budget using realistic incomes, and manage the expenses that come with running a household.
Today, as Senior Vice President, Director of Treasury and Payment Services at Bangor Savings Bank, Jaime still volunteers for JA. She finds her own work experience and passion for JA continues to make an impression on her students, as her mentors did for her.