Junior Achievement has a long standing partnership with the University of Colorado Denver, with many students volunteering in JA classrooms throughout the school year. Through their JA service learning program, CU Denver students get a taste of the lifelong impacts they can make in their communities.
“We realized that you can’t ask students to do significant long-term civic engagement until they’ve had a couple introductory experiences, says Communication Professor Stephen Hartnett. “So for us, JA works perfectly as that introductory experience. It provides the first step on a longer path of civic engagement.”
Many of the JA volunteers are only a year or two past high school themselves and find volunteering to be a turning point in their development. Not only do JA volunteers have the chance to empower kids in classrooms, they also discover the impact of mentorship and find their own confidence when stepping into that leadership role.
“A lot of our students come to us as freshmen and sophomores, and they’ve been students their whole lives,” Hartnett explains. “Then suddenly, with JA, they’re the teachers. They’re in front of the classroom. That’s a pretty significant transitional moment in a lot of their lives; to suddenly realize, holy cow, I’m the teacher! A lot of our students recognize in themselves that they’ve reached that point in their development as a human being.”