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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, January 3, 2002

On Campus
Volunteers can share business expertise

By Jennifer Hiller
Advertiser Education Writer

You don't have to be the president of the company, but if you have a bit of business savvy, Junior Achievement of Hawai'i wants your help.

The nonprofit group is looking for volunteers to help it teach students from kindergarten to 12th grade about free enterprise.

Junior Achievement volunteers bring a piece of the "real world" to the schools by teaching students about business and personal finance. They cover everything from how money flows through a community, to personal money management or filling out a job application. Think of it as anything from checkbooks to the global economy.

You don't even have to be part of the business world to help. Junior Achievement looks for parents, college students, members of the military and retirees to fill its ranks, in addition to local business leaders.

"We're looking for volunteers from a variety of backgrounds," said Joshua Tolefson, Junior Achievement program manager. "All of our programs can use people with all levels of expertise. They should have the knowledge and the skills, but we want to reflect the diversity of our community."

Thankfully, the Junior Achievement staff provides all of the classroom materials and free training. You don't need to have teaching experience, but if the idea of a class of 14-year-olds scares you, this isn't your thing.

"You try to embroider the program to your own style and experience," Tolefson said. "You're given kits with all the materials."

Having community volunteers teach the classes helps bridge the gap between the work force and the schools, Tolefson said.

It's also supposed to give students a positive outlook on the workplace and encourage them to stay in school.

Junior Achievement can use your help now. The staff is looking for volunteers to teach classes that start this month. Chances are, there's a school in your area that could use your expertise.

The time commitment ranges from teaching five classes at elementary schools, to six to eight classes at middle schools and 10 to 12 for high schools.

Founded nationally in 1919, and in Hawai'i since 1957, Junior Achievement is the oldest and largest business and economic not-for-profit education organization in the world.

With its 100,000 volunteers, Junior Achievement reaches 5 million students across the country and in 116 member nations.

For information on volunteering, call 545-1777, Ext. 12, on O'ahu; (808) 893-0104 on Maui; or (808) 966-8450 in Hilo.

Reach Jennifer Hiller at jhiller@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8084.