Junior Achievement

Junior Achievement (JA) is a worldwide nonprofit organization that partners with the business community, educators, and volunteers in order to educate young students about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy. Through experiential, hands on programs, JA volunteers help prepare students for the real world by demonstrating:

  • -How to generate wealth and effectively manage it
  • -How to create jobs which make their communities more robust
  • -How to apply entrepreneurial thinking to the workplace
  • -How to be successful in the global economy

Students put these lessons into action and learn the value of contributing to their communities.

The FPA of San Francisco has partnered up with JA to serve schools in local communities. Financial planners are ideal volunteers, as they can incorporate their financial expertise, entrepreneurial skills, and practical experience as working professionals into their lessons. JA opportunities for the FPA of San Francisco arise throughout the school year and at different schools throughout San Francisco and the North Bay.

Volunteering involves a minimal time commitment. After being assigned a grade level, each volunteer is trained in a one hour conference call and provided with their lesson plan and classroom materials. The lesson plan explains step-by-step how to present each lesson, so the volunteer should take some time to become familiar with it. JA designs a unique curriculum for each grade level, so that they build on themes sequentially each year. Each lesson plan includes five pre-designed lessons, each lasting 25 to 45 minutes in the classroom, which incorporate instruction and interactive activities. Volunteers are encouraged to share their own practical experiences as well.

JA opportunities through the FPA of San Francisco will be offered in one of two formats, depending on the time of year and the needs of the school:

Traditional 5-week program – This format schedules a separate visit for each lesson, so that students have time to absorb them and benefit from recurring visits from the volunteer. Often this allows a more flexible schedule to be arranged between the volunteer and the teacher.

JA in a Day – This format schedules all five lesson plans to be presented sequentially in the same day. Typically all volunteers appear on the same predetermined day, but without a longer term commitment.

Volunteering with Junior Achievement is a great opportunity to inspire young people to dream big and reach their potential.

FPA members are encouraged to get involved. Further information about Junior Achievement programs can be found at their website, www.ja.org. If interested in learning about future events or being on the mailing list for JA volunteers, contact Don Maxon at maxonfinancial@comcast.net.


Nate Eddinger

I volunteered with Junior Achievement because I wanted to help ensure that the new generation is financially literate, and was pleased to discover that my involvement was a fun and rewarding experience on a personal level. I’m always impressed with how receptive and captivated each class is when I visit, not only with the subject matter but with my “real world” experience as a professional. I enjoy hearing their questions and their impressions of new concepts, as well as the creativity and enthusiasm they bring to the activities. Although I was initially concerned about the time commitment, I’ve found that the program makes it easy to prepare the well-developed lessons, and the teachers have always been more than willing to help in the classroom. On more than one occasion I’ve had students come up to me afterward and ask me to “stay forever.” It’s satisfying to know that one day of my time is so beneficial to them. I look forward to volunteering again.  -Nate Eddinger