In January, I had the pleasure of teaching a classroom of fourth graders at Peoria Elementary as a volunteer with Junior Achievement of Arizona. If you don’t know, Junior Achievement educates and inspires youth to value free enterprise and understand business and economics to improve the quality of their lives.

The Day Before…

Leading up to my JA Day I was so anxious. I had all of the material, thanks to the wonderful staff. I was trained on how to work with fourth graders so I wouldn’t be duct taped to a wall by the end of the day. Key tip for anyone doing this…bring candy! I even asked my daughter who is also in fourth grade for some tips. Even though I had all of the tools to pull this off, I was still nervous. How was I going to appeal to these kids for a whole entire day?

The Big Day…

The curriculum I taught was about our region and entrepreneurship. I was able to take them through activities that connect our region and how businesses rely on each other to be successful. In many examples, I was able to share the entrepreneurial spirit of the Goodman family and how an idea can turn into a profitable, third-generation company. I drew pictures to illustrate how the supply chain works and how we rely on our partners and vice versa to keep things moving. They went from the creation of their company to being in full operation and how to deal with the problems that occur. They tracked their business revenue and expenses and then figured out their profit/loss. Yes, fourth graders did this! I was impressed!  The whole day went better than I could have ever expected!

At the end of the day, a young boy came up to me and thanked me by giving me a hug and gifting me the impressive boat that is my feature image – what skill, right? Another girl gave me the little thank you note that accompanied it. I had an opportunity to talk to the teacher more and showed her my gifts. She then told me how the young boy who gave me the boat is one of the sweetest boys she knows. Unfortunately, he has a hard time staying on task and both parents are incarcerated so he carries a lot of social issues to school. This broke my heart. It felt good that for a whole day, I was able to provide him with a fun day.

Post JA Day…

I realized as a parent, my daughter was missing out on this same type of learning. That weekend I walked her through some of what I learned and she created her own business, KK’s Cookies! She made $8 the first weekend and is very happy with her continued success. Unfortunately, my neighbor’s diets aren’t doing so well! I am now finding ways to bring this to more schools in the Northwest Valley, where the need more help.

I am grateful that at Goodmans Interior Solutions being connected to the greater community is one of the fundamental tenets of our corporate values. We have a commitment to change our community.

If you are curious about Junior Achievement and the impact they are making in the community, please reach out. I hope you will join me in helping our future leaders!

We must become the change we wish to see in the world. Mahatma Ghandi