The kindergarten students in Karen Dash’s classroom at Crestview Elementary School cheered when Junior Achievement of Central Virginia volunteer John Vetrovec told them he was giving them a cardboard bank during a lesson on savings.
Vetrovec, first vice president-investments with Davenport & Company, has been teaching Junior Achievement (JA) programs in Dash’s class for almost a decade, and is one of several members of the Rotary of West Richmond who have committed to teach JA programs at Crestview. The partnership has endured for the past 15 years.
“Teaching (JA programs) in Karen Dash’s class has been a great experience over the past nine years,” said Vetrovec. “Her commitment to education and the kids she teaches is second to none. It’s been my pleasure to get to know her and her classes each year, and I look forward to our partnership in years to come.”
Dash sees value in the programs. “The lessons are always fun and engaging. JA has been a positive experience for my students and I look forward to working with John for many years to come.”
Junior Achievement of Central Virginia recruits and trains 2,400 volunteers to present turnkey programs to more than 25,000 area K-12 students each year. JA programs focus on financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship. These classroom-based programs align with state standards and are free to schools and teachers, but what makes the programs unique are the hands-on activities and volunteer facilitation.
Daphne Swanson, president and CEO of JA of Central Virginia explained, “Volunteers bring real-world experience into classrooms and connect our communities with our schools. JA volunteers come from all walks of life – college students, retirees, entrepreneurs, executives. All are able to infuse their experiences into the JA lessons to give young students insight into what it takes to succeed in life after high school.”
Jennifer Drake, principal at Crestview Elementary, concurred. “We are preparing our students to be #LifeReady in Henrico, and programs like Junior Achievement add authentic learning experiences to our school day. There is tremendous value in what our community volunteers bring to our students, exposing them to concepts that extend and enrich our curriculum. Crestview is so appreciative of the time, energy and expertise the Rotary of West Richmond give our students and staff.”