Volunteer brings entrepreneurial spirit to JA Career Day at Community Connections

Volunteer Spotlight: Patricia Davis
Creator of “CATA,” Consumers Against Toxic Apparel, owner of Silver Needle & Thread, Silver T-Models, Tag Custom Bridal and The Jacksonville Organic Business Directory.

JA Girl$ inspires girls and young women to open their minds to new opportunities, understand the power of their choices, and reach high to achieve their full potential.

Women who volunteer with JA Girl$ embody this spirit and pass along their wisdom and life experiences with the girls they interact with.

For Patricia Davis, her entrepreneurial background made for a great fit with JA Girl$. More than 40 years ago she started her own company when she was in high school. “I learned how to sew and was making all my clothes. Everyone wanted me to sew their clothes so I figured out, I could get paid for this and that’s when the business was created,” she recalls.

Earlier this summer, Patricia had the opportunity to get involved with JA Girl$ during JA’s Career Day at Community Connections-Normandy Center. Patricia was one of seven women who volunteered their afternoon to speak to girls ages 8-12 in a “reverse job interview” format. The women answered questions about everything related to jobs, school and the future, showing these young girls what opportunities are available to them.

JA: Why did you want to get involved with Junior Achievement?
Patricia: I see a huge disconnect between education and life skills today. I wanted to mentor young girls, serve as a role model and set an example for how they should dress, deal with today’s fashion trends, respect their bodies and take care of themselves.

What is your advice to girls who aren’t sure what they want to be when they grow up?
Don’t worry about it. Learn how to do what you love right now because those are the skills despite whatever career you choose that will make you successful. For example, you may love cooking-the discipline, organization and planning required to cook- these may well be the same skills you apply to being a nurse or auditor. Many people often settle for just choosing a career, working a job and being unhappy but when you work and do what you love, you will always have purpose and the money will come. Oftentimes, later in life we find ourselves going back and doing what we feel passionate about—that could easily be cooking. You may become a food stylist, author or restaurant owner.

What was your most memorable part of doing the “reverse job interviews” at Community Connections?
There were a couple of things. First, seeing how much the girls wanted to learn and the amount of questions they asked. Second, was at the end when the last group of girls came and shook our hand. Many of them told me how inspired they were from my words. I could see the excitement, hope and passion in their eyes. I felt connected to something much, much larger than myself or any work I’ve ever done. We must become involved in our children’s lives-the day was a good day!

Junior Achievement’s annual event to benefit the JA Girl$ program, $mart Women Make Change, is coming up October 23. Funds raised enable volunteers like Patricia to continue making a difference in the lives of young girls. This year features Coca-Cola racing family member Danica Patrick as keynote speaker. Tickets are available at jajax.com.

To learn more about JA Girl$ or to become a volunteer, please visit our website or contact program director Elizabeth Paulson at 904-398-9944 ext.225, elizabeth@jajax.com


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