Q & A with JA College Student Volunteer
Author: Hannah Henry
Published: Tuesday, 03 Jul 2018
As Zachary Robles walks on to shake the president’s hand of Kent University, his smile is not only for being the first generation to complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Management, but for the pride he feels for having made an impact in his local community.
Managing full class schedules and contemplating future career paths, Robles made time to teach Junior Achievement programs in his local community. JA wanted to know how does a driven, hard-working college student fit JA into his life. This is what we found out!
JA: First off, congratulations on graduating from Kent University! What an accomplishment! With all of the extra-curricular options on campus, what made you choose JA?
Robles: Thank you for the best wishes on graduation. I’ve been through a lot and it still amazes me that I had the opportunity to complete something that hasn't been done in my family before. I'm the first generation to complete a Bachelor's Degree in Management.
Simply put, I have pride in the next generation. I have tons of experience working with today's youth, from being a counselor to working as a mentor, along with 3 years of working with Junior Achievement. My main goal with doing Junior Achievement: Showing kids that it is important to make smart choices, because before they know it, they will be where I am at. I love to share my knowledge of business (and life) with them and if I can guide at least one kid to be successful, I can go to bed happy.
JA: Wow! We love knowing young professionals, like yourself, believe in our mission! How do you feel the curriculum benefited and resonated with the students?
Robles: With the curriculum, I am beyond pleased with the resulting product Junior Achievement established. From my experience, my students always looked forward to each lesson, and they asked a TON of questions.
This type of engagement is what we need. Outside of the educational setting, I always have parents/teachers come up to me when their child recognizes me and say thanks for my work with the program. To sum up: This program, in my professional opinion, is very successful here in northeast Ohio.
JA: As you have been a volunteer with JA for quite a while, do you have a favorite lesson or a favorite student engagement hack?
Robles: From my experience, I always LOVED lesson 4. (The Debit Card/Credit Card Savvy Shopper). Every time I teach this lesson, I actually make an amendment with the lesson and have the class work in groups. Here, I encourage the groups to work together for the answers, as I like to challenge that if each group gets X amount of questions right, I will reward them with donuts personally hand-delivered from me. This gets everyone excited and engaged.
During the next period, I will review the material with them and once they answer the last question correctly, I like to "trick" them to think they got it wrong by walking out of the room for a second and coming back in with donuts as a reward. My teachers I was partnered with love this, as it adds a little comical twist to the curriculum.
I can go on about how wonderful this program is. I will go even as far to say that if I am still in the area for the next couple of years, I will continue to teach it. Junior Achievement does an excellent job, I can't praise the organization enough.
From all of us at Junior Achievement, congratulations Zachary for graduating and thank you for giving your time to set youth up for success in your local community. We cannot wait to hear about your accomplishments that lie ahead!
Amy Kneesey, Vice Chairman of the Brevard County School Board
"It’s a way to expand our curriculum without having to put out more resources. That’s a win for everyone."
Beth Westfall, Assistant Principal West Side Elementary School
"JA is relevant to my school, more so now than ever."
Hilah R. Mercer, Principal Cambridge Elementary Magnet School
"Junior Achievement is an outstanding, motivating program for our elementary students. Several of [our teachers] had JA volunteers last year and all had great praise for the program"
Michael Johnson, PhD, UCF Professor, College of Education
"I have long believed that this JA experience is so valuable for our UCF students and that actually it is a rare win for all experience, the UCF students, the school teachers, the school students, the UCF Education Profs, and the JA sponsors."
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