Volunteer FAQ’s

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What is Junior Achievement and who founded it?
Junior Achievement is a non-profit organization, which educates and inspires young people to value free enterprise, business, and economics in order to improve the quality of their lives. It is JA’s mission to ensure that every child in America has a fundamental understanding of the free enterprise system. JA was founded by Horace Moses in 1919 in Springfield, MA.

How long has Junior Achievement of Southwest Connecticut been around?
Junior Achievement of Southwest Connecticut was found in 1975. It reaches students in the communities of Greenwich, Stamford, Darien, New Canaan, Norwalk, Westport, and Weston. In the 2014-2015 school year JASWCT will nearly 12,700 students in these communities.

Is Junior Achievement for High School students only?
No, JA is for all students grades, K-12. JA is often known for its evening program called JA Company where high school students create and run a business. In addition to this program, JA has an in-school program which reach all grades K-12. Volunteers actually go into the classroom and teach JA curriculum. Click here to learn more.

How does Junior Achievement work?
JA takes a partnership approach to education. Educators provide access to the classroom while corporations, businesses, foundations, individuals, and service clubs contribute volunteers and financial resources. JA develops the curriculum, secures the funding, and recruits and trains volunteers to provide programs to students grades K-12.

I want to volunteer for Junior Achievement, what should I do next?
Fill out our Volunteer Interest Form and we will contact you as opportunities arise that meet your interests.  Click here to access the form.

What forms do I need to fill out?
All our volunteers need to fill out a Volunteer Information form (including a conduct policy) every year. To access the online form, click here.
Upon completion of the program a Class Registration form must be completed by volunteers. For a copy of the Class Registration form, click here.

What is expected of me as a volunteer?
As a volunteer, you will need to fill out a Volunteer Information form, which gives us basic information about you. This information is for our purposes only and is not shared with anyone. You will also need to sign our conduct policy. No one can volunteer without JA first having a signed conduct policy. A current Volunteer Information form is required for each school year. To access the online form, click here.

All new volunteers must attend a volunteer training session, which lasts about an hour. The sessions provide insight into the JA, the programs, the materials provided, the classroom, and the students.

Once trained, the volunteers will be assigned to a class. JA provides the volunteer with the teacher’s name, phone number and address, as well as directions to the school. It is the volunteer’s responsibility to contact the teacher and schedule meeting times. The teacher is also provided with the volunteer’s name and number so they are expecting to be contacted.

Once the meeting times are scheduled, the volunteer is ready to teach. Preparation is needed before each class, anywhere from 30-45 minutes. The number of times the volunteer teaches is determined by the class being taught as shown below:

  • Elementary School Program (K-5): 5 classes lasting about 45 minutes (one class a week)
  • Middle School Program (6-8): 6 classes lasting about 45 minutes (one class a week)
  • High School Program (9-12): 5-12 classes lasting about 45 minutes (one class a week)

Upon completion of the program volunteers must complete and return the Class Registration form and will be invited to complete a volunteer survey form once the Class Registration form is received.

What types of skills do I need to be a JA volunteer?
Our JA volunteers are very diverse. Volunteers come from the business community, groups and organizations, colleges and universities. They are professional, retired seniors, moms and dads, and college students. All JA volunteers have one thing in common–a passionate desire to help young people learn more about their world and to broaden their horizons by introducing them to new ideas and career opportunities. JA is about sharing life experiences with young people and encouraging them to strive to be the best they can and to realize that the world offers many choices.

I don’t have any teaching experience, is that ok?
Absolutely! You do not have to know how to teach to present JA’s interactive hands-on activities. JA provides training, easy to use materials, a concise Consultant Guide (including lesson plans) and support to help every volunteer have a successful JA experience.

What is the best grade level for my first volunteer experience?
Trust your feelings. Volunteer for the program that allows you to work with the students in the age group you like best and to deliver lessons about topics you know best. To learn more about individual programs, click here.

How will I know what to teach?
JA has already designed the age appropriate curriculum, so you don’t have to worry about what to teach, we tell you. Not only do we tell you what you will be teaching, but we also provide you with all the materials needed to teach the lessons, including a detailed lesson plan!

Will I be trained?
Yes. All new volunteers must attend a volunteer orientation which lasts about an hour. The orientation provide insight into the JA programs, the materials provided, the classroom, and the students.

How much time do I need to commit as a volunteer?
Commitment time varies depending on the grade level you teach. Following is a guide for actual teaching time:

  • Elementary School Program (K-5): 5 classes lasting about 45 minutes (one class a week)
  • Middle School Program (6-8): 6 classes lasting about 45 minutes (one class a week)
  • High School Program (9-12): 5-12 classes lasting about 45 minutes (one class a week)

In addition to actual teaching time, volunteers will need to prepare for each class, roughly 30-60 minutes before each class. Finally, all new volunteers will need to be trained. Training lasts about an hour.

One of the benefits of JA is its flexibility. You schedule the classes with the teacher at a time that works best for you during the school day. If you are unable to attend a class one week, you simply need to coordinate that with the teacher and reschedule that class.

Who should I call if I am having difficulty contacting my teacher?
You should contact our office, at 203-854-1700.

What should I do if I can’t make a class?
If you cannot attend a scheduled class, contact the teacher immediately (preferably at least a day in advance). Your teacher will need to make alternative arrangements for the time allocated to you. You will also need to reschedule that class with the teacher so that the students do not miss out on the lesson. During your initial discussions with the teacher, be sure to work out the emergency contact and rescheduling procedures and to discuss steps for handling absences or delays.

What should I wear to class?
You are a business model and should dress the part. A rule of thumb would be whatever is acceptable at work should be acceptable for the classroom. However, if your place of business is very casual (ex. jeans, shorts) you should wear business casual type clothes.

What kind of support should I expect from the teacher?
The partnership you create with the teacher is key to a successful program. The teacher is ultimately responsible for the class when you are visiting and should remain in the classroom while you conduct your lesson. The teacher can help you manage student behaviors and can be a resource to you regarding school and classroom rules. Between visits, the teacher can help prepare the students for your visit and can reinforce your lessons after you leave. Finally, the teacher will be able to provide you with specific information concerning the special needs of the students in the classroom you visit.

Can I teach more than one class?
Absolutely!! You can teach as many classes as you wish during the school year. You can specify your interest when you complete your Volunteer Information form.

What materials will be provided to me?
Every JA volunteer receives a JA kit complete with all the materials needed to be successful. Each kit contains two Consultant and Teacher Guides (which includes the lesson plan). All student materials are included in the kit.  Most kits contain student workbooks, Certificates of Achievements, a pretest and post-test, and interactive presentation materials. Each JA Consultant Guide contains a master list of the kit materials as well as a breakdown of the materials needed for each class.

What do I do with extra materials?
More than likely you will have student materials left over. The average class size is around 22 students. JA program kits are packaged for 30 or 32 students depending on the program. The extra materials may be left with the teacher, turned into to your school’s parent coordinator or materials can be returned to the JASWCT office at 200 Connecticut Ave., Norwalk CT.