The nature of non-profit work is very sporadic. As my supervisor mentioned last week, “when it rains, it pours.” She was referring to the immense amount of work that needs to happen right around the same time of the year, within the first few weeks after the school year starts.
I spent the last two weeks at Junior Achievement with a variety of interesting tasks. Moving from the volunteer and recruitment team into data analysis, I began working on the Fellows data. Fellows is an opt-in 18-week program that is run in collaboration with companies and business executives in the Metro Atlanta area. Student participants, also called fellows, split into teams and work on special projects to develop entrepreneurial and economic skills. The data from the program included a pre-survey and a post-survey, both of which were identical, contained demographic information and collected answers to content knowledge questions and scales of agreement. The tests we were able to run from the data confirmed our intentions to provide students with added economic, civic, and entrepreneurial value over the course of the program. One standout element that we determined a statistical difference on the improvement from pre-survey and post-survey between first-time Fellows and returning Fellows. Because the program is available for all four years of high school, some students have the pleasure of being a Fellow for their entire high school career. This significant gain from the end of year one to the end of year two led us to think about ways in which curriculum connects with students after the first year more than it does during. The differences were marginal and not significant for students between years three and four, so it appeared that the majority of the content growth occurred in the first two years. Being able to work with and manipulate this data was a deep step within the evaluation of programs for the organization, and I’m glad I could be a part.
Internally, I got the opportunity to sit in on some crucial planning and strategies meetings, as the organization is restructuring its positions a bit in the wake of once again increased budgetary constraints. Fortunately, the strong relationships Junior Achievement has built in Atlanta, especially with the joint work done in the programs, enabled most of the corporate donations to remain intact. However, the organization is still searching and finding new obstacles to overcome in enlisting volunteers for other programs at a time when fewer of us are financially able themselves.
Altogether, I’m sad to see my time at the organization come to a pause, but the perspective I’ve gained has been immeasurable.
And it begins!
School has started for all of the counties in the metro Atlanta area. For Junior Achievement, this means that we are finalizing the preparation for work in the schools. I’m the only intern left in the office thanks to my unique summer schedule, but it allows greater flexibility and ability to do more projects than one. Soon, we will have our first JA Day of the year where the entire staff goes out into the community to present the programs that Junior Achievement runs.
Because of this work, I have begun working with the volunteers to streamline the training process. Before there would be a point-person for each volunteer who would be responsible for attaching several documents and staying on track of that volunteer to ensure that all materials were received and completed. Now, all of the communication can be found on a consolidated website I created for the Atlanta chapter. Once a volunteer is confirmed, he or she can use that link to see all of the necessary updates, announcements, calendar events, and training materials. I am in the process of linking the website to social and personal media, though that is up for debate. I am also parsing down some of the documents so that they are more succinct and clear given the varying the nature of many of the volunteer roles.
You could assist in one of Junior Achievement’s many events, wherever you live. I’m sure the volunteer coordinator near you could use the help! And more importantly, the children would certainly benefit from your inspiration through fun and relevant financial curriculum.
Check it out! http://ja.org/near/near_map.asp
The past several weeks have been so busy, but I’ve been loving every minute of it. For roughly three of them, I have been preparing for and working at Junior Achievement of Georgia in Atlanta. Junior Achievement is the world’s largest organization dedicated to educating students about workforce readiness, leadership, and financial literacy through innovative and integrated after-school programming. The Atlanta branch is the largest in the state and has programming that reaches over 150,000 children in the Metro Atlanta area. Initially inspired to this organization because of its wide reach and its critical efforts to communities I call home, I have been continually encouraged by the staff to come to work everyday and perform necessary tasks for the execution of the organization’s programs.
So far, I have been working both administratively and creatively. One big project I worked on involved coordinating with the executive directors and/or directors of development of other regional branches in the Southeast. Because Atlanta is the largest branch in the Southeast, we handle and process a lot of interregional work for the other branches. In this case, Junior Achievement partnered with Publix grocery stores to raise money to support the programs done in the community, and I was responsible for ensuring that the each Publix was connected to the corresponding Junior Achievement for disbursement of the funds.
Concretely, this meant providing the contact and address information for each Publix store to send money orders and checks to the nearest Junior Achievement. Outside of that administrative work, I spent days preparing for events and lending the helping hands to organize and move paraphernalia and sponsorship items to necessary locations for the organization. In about two weeks, the focus of my work will shift, when I will move to the Data & Evaluation Team. Here I will begin doing evaluations of the impact and growth of each of the programs as well as transforming existing programming to continue to meet the needs of local students in innovative ways. I’m really excited to get an internal look at the structure, input and impact of these programs. I think it’ll be tremendous learning experience.
I am more than thankful for the support the Show Me Foundation has shown in supporting education and social justice through my work efforts, and I can’t wait to share what the remainder of the summer has in store for me.
Please check out the website! http://georgia.ja.org
Get involved with a Junior Achievement nearby! http://ja.org/near/near_map.asp
Announcing our 2012 Show Me Campaign Fellows
Congratulations and a warm welcome to our 2012 Show Me Campaign Fellows! Visit the Fellows page to meet these 10 amazing students and learn about the organizations they will be supporting this summer. From Philadelphia to Paraguay, they will be working hard to improve education and alleviate poverty using innovative solutions.
Follow this blog all summer to read about the Fellows’ unique experiences and gain new insights into how YOU can help change the world for the better.
The Show Me Campaign Team