We Are JA is a profile series highlighting the people who make up Junior Achievement – volunteers, students, companies, donors, alumni and more. Celebrating the moments, successes and experiences of our constituents, this series reveals the people who are part of Junior Achievement’s impact in the North Florida region.
Joseph Jones, Volunteer
Retirement Benefits Specialist: Tax Sheltered Plans, AXA Advisors
JA: How did you learn about Junior Achievement and why did you want to become involved?
Joseph: I had heard about Junior Achievement for years, but never really looked into it fully. Being involved with Duval County Public Schools as a retirement benefits resource, a lot of my contacts and clients asked me about Junior Achievement and my involvement.
My business partner Marie Galke and I finally reached out to Tiffany Mackey [VP of Programs] after going through the orientation during one of our weekly training sessions over at the AXA branch office downtown. I told her my schedule, the schools I represented as a retirement benefits specialist, and she connected me with Mr. O’Brien at Edward H. White High School. After the first Junior Achievement “JA in a Day” we were hooked.
You participated in several Reverse Job Shadow events this past school year. What surprised you most during your conversations with the students?
What surprised me most was that a lot of the students actually had well-thought-out questions besides just “how much money do you make?” Many asked me how happy I was with my job, and for some details on the day-to-day schedule of what my work life looks like.
They asked about the requirements to get on my career path, and what specifically they could do in order to accomplish this. I feel that overall the students took the Reverse Job Shadows seriously and gained some valuable insight.
As a financial professional, what do you hope students take away from your conversations with them?
I hope that students take away the need to be proactive and educated about the financial world around them, including their personal financial situation. Learning the simple concepts and steps to take ownership of one’s financial future is easy to do with the curriculum of Junior Achievement.
Through the programming already built out that flows smoothly from year to year, a student who goes through the full JA curriculum should have a masterful understanding of general financial practices. I hope to help build knowledgeable citizens who one day will contribute to a changed economic landscape here and abroad.
What would you tell someone who has never volunteered with Junior Achievement but is thinking of getting involved?
The easiest way to get started is to just make the commitment and jump in. I had never taught, and definitely had not taught any children. The curriculum and resources already built into the programming make the process extremely easy and stress-free. This allows you to focus on the students, the relationships, and making the material as
relatable as possible by putting it in your own voice.
When you finish a course and know that you’ve made an impact on somebody by teaching them a new concept or getting them interested in their own personal finances, that’s when you feel great and want to come back and volunteer more.
To volunteer with Junior Achievement of North Florida, please visit www.JAjax.com.