Nancy Phillips, Business Basics, Dollars with Sense and Economics for Success Volunteer, Kelowna
Hi Everyone! My name is Nancy Phillips and I’m a JA volunteer – wohoo! I wish I’d had the opportunity to experience JA when I was in school! I grew up in Toronto and have also lived in San Diego and British Columbia, where I worked in the corporate world, including internationally, for almost twenty years. Once I became a parent I found a new mission; researching and creating fun resources to help children learn key financial and life success skills. I am the author of the Zela Wela Kids financial story books and founder and president of DollarSmartKids Enterprises.
Q: How did you first get involved with Junior Achievement?
A: I got involved with Junior Achievement a couple of years ago once my eldest was in school. I wanted to interact with the children, communicate the fantastic JA content and share some real-life experiences that I thought may be helpful. I began volunteer work in different capacities when I was fourteen and have always felt it to be a very powerful and rewarding part of life.
Q: How important do you think having a JA volunteer in the classroom is to the program?
A: I think it’s really important to have JA volunteers go into the classroom to discuss the programs because of the perspective we offer. It’s a wonderful opportunity for students to be able to talk to adults from various life and career backgrounds. Nothing compares to speaking with someone who has first-hand knowledge of a particular topic you may be interested in. The students also get to hear ideas, stories and viewpoints they wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to experience while they’re learning the programs.
Q: What impact do you think JA has on young people?
A: JA impacts students in so many positive ways, like learning and thinking about topics they may never have considered before, opening their thoughts and ideas about various careers, discovering how to begin managing their own money effectively or feeling excited about a new interest that may get sparked – like entrepreneurialism!
Q: Can you share a special moment you have had while volunteering for JA?
A: One moment that was really special for me was actually something as simple as a “look” one shy student gave me at the end of the one of my volunteer days. I was closing the presentation by talking about how they could fulfill their biggest goals and dreams in life, and while I was saying the word “dreams” my eyes caught this student at the back of the class and she just gave me the biggest grin and looked right in my eyes saying “yes I can!” The look in her eyes expressed more than any words could have.
Q: What piece of advice would you give a new JA volunteer prior to delivering a program?
A: Some advice for new volunteers would be: definitely prepare and be familiar with the materials, there is a lot to go through and you want to have a good pace so you can all enjoy the day and not be rushed. If you are presenting with an experienced partner, you could discuss how to split up the speaking sections. Most of all just relax and have fun!