Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Spartans help classes, community with Junior Achievement program

November 2, 2000
Junior Achievement volunteer John Kauffman speaks to students at Dwight Rich Middle School, 2600 Hampden Drive in Lansing, on Wednesday. Kauffman instructed the students on the importance of first impressions and had them design their own business cards. —

MSU students and area volunteers are doing their part to better the community in school classrooms as part of the Junior Achievement program.

In operation since 1919, the program reaches more than 2.7 million elementary, middle and high school students all over the country and almost 100 countries worldwide.

Yen Pham, Junior Achievement program manager and an MSU alumna, said she got involved in order to have a bigger impact on the community and the children.

“It’s a really great nonprofit organization that does a lot as far as teaching kids about businesses and free enterprise,” Pham said. “But it also gives the children the opportunity to meet people in their community and get a sense of what jobs are out there for them.”

Pham said the program brings volunteers from the community face to face with students for the simplest human interaction - sharing.

Classroom volunteers strive to make economic concepts relevant and challenge students to excel.

John Kauffman, an education senior, said he was a little nervous before he got up in front of his first class Wednesday.

“If someone like me can pick up a book and start teaching, then the program must be spelled out very well, coming from the perspective of a first-time teacher,” Kauffman said. “It’s a lot of fun and it’s a great way for future teachers to gain valuable experience.”

Kauffman, the manager of Taco Bell, 565 E. Grand River Ave., lectured at Dwight Rich Middle School, 2600 Hampden Drive in Lansing, on Wednesday about the importance of a first impression as it relates to business, and what it takes to maintain his restaurant.

Connie Newton, a teacher of an eighth grade skills for success class at Dwight Rich, said the class really respected Kauffman and it was great to have him there to answer questions.

“It’s nice to have someone else come into the room to share their interpretation of the world,” Newton said. “I’m very glad we have this partnership between Junior Achievement and the school district.”

The program has organized 158 classes for volunteers to interact with this semester in Ingham, Clinton and Eaton counties. Then it will start a whole new semester in the spring, Pham said.

“Our goal for the year is to serve 9,000 students.”

“It’s a great opportunity for MSU students to get involved with kids and earn some teaching experience at the same time,” she said. “Out of 138 volunteers right now, about 10 to 15 are MSU students.”

For more information about the program call 332-4585 or visit its office at 100 W. Grand River Ave., on the second floor of the Citizens Bank building.

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