Volunteer Serves as Mentor to Girls at Reed Educational Campus Summer Program


Carmen Bland, Principal Technical Recruiter for URS, was looking to become more involved with the community but wasn’t quite sure what. That changed when she met Elizabeth Paulson, JA Girl$ Program Director, at the Women in Business Luncheon in May 2013. She learned about her role with Junior Achievement and its need for volunteers.

Elizabeth then introduced Carmen to Dr. Theresa Hodge who runs the Reed Educational Campus Summer Program, deciding it would be a great opportunity to bring JA Girl$ to the young women there.

For five weeks, one session a week, Carmen taught JA Our City to a group of girls in 3rd – 6th grade. The girls learned about banking, zones in a city, and how people and businesses in cities manage their money.

During one lesson she introduced the concept of filling out a deposit slip and check, emphasizing the importance of filling out both correctly to avoid fraud.



After completing her fifth and final session, Carmen explained that spending time with these girls she sees “just how hungry our youth are to learn if put in the right environment and surrounded by adults who truly care about them as individuals.”

Executive Director Theresa Hodge exclaimed, “JA Girl$ is an absolute positive way to make kids aware of the importance of money. It’s not about how much money you have, but how you use it.”

JA Girl$ has been educating girls and young women in financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship since 2006. Volunteers like Carmen serve as positive role models in the lives of girls they teach.

“The JA Girl$ lessons are important,” Carmen said, “because it makes them more aware of possibilities outside of their day to day exposures and experiences in school and home.”

As for Carmen’s most memorable moment as a JA Girl$ volunteer? “The group hug I received at the end of my 5th session.”2211


To learn more about JA Girl$ or to get involved, visit jajax.com or contact Elizabeth Paulson: Elizabeth@jajax.com 904-398-9944 ext. 225

Tickets are available for Smart Women Make Change, featuring keynote speaker Christina Norman: http://www.smartwomenmakechange.com


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