Volunteering with JA offers young professional “an opportunity for self-growth”

3 young professionals sitting together
Matt Aschermann (left) at a young professionals’ networking event with JA Engage

Volunteers are the backbone of Junior Achievement (JA). They generously offer their time, passion, work and life experience with kids in our communities, and without them, our efforts to prepare young people for the 21st century workplace and global economy wouldn’t be possible. JA is fortunate enough to work with young professionals who have a unique spark and enthusiasm for collaboration – people like Matt Aschermann.

Through his company JE Dunn, Aschermann has taught JA to kindergarten, first grade and second grade students, and he’s helped with JA Finance Park, presented by Transamerica. He also attended the JA Engage 2019 Kickoff Happy Hour where he spoke with friends and other young professionals about his volunteer experience. Even though Aschermann is, in his words, “an introverted person by nature,” his shy tendencies haven’t prevented him from jumping into opportunities with JA.

“Placing myself in front of a captive audience is outside my comfort zone,” Aschermann says. “JA has been an opportunity for self-growth.”

JA programs for younger elementary school kids are Aschermann’s favorite to teach. He jokes, “I share the younger kids’ affinity for stickers, and the JA activities for kindergarten, first grade and second grade are sticker-heavy.” These programs utilize hands-on activities to teach students about the basics about the economy and needs versus wants, and the lessons can leave a long-lasting impression. Aschermann says, “It’s apparent that the goal of JA is to teach that money management will dictate these kids’ futures.”

It’s not only kids who leave class with important takeaways, though.

“The most valuable takeaway for me is the feeling that I may have had a positive impact on somebody. I can look back on my own childhood and recall brief interactions with adults that may have seemed inconsequential to them but were pivotal to me. I could be so lucky to have that effect on another, and JA is an opportunity for that.”