Junior Achievement Volunteers

Junior Achievement Volunteers

During the 2010-2011 academic year, 7,000 Hawaii students from 50 schools in grades K12 learned about issues such as work-readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy. While these might not be topics often found in the classroom, they’re exactly the kind of lessons that Junior Achievement (JA) of Hawaii teaches. JA is a nonprofit organization that aims to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy.

JA president Dianne Ward attributes much of the organization’s expansive reach to its more than 300 volunteers comprised of various businesses and individuals. Volunteers visit classrooms to teach students grade-appropriate lessons related to financial literacy using curriculum provided by JA and sharing their own expertise and experiences. Bank of Hawaii has been instrumental in providing volunteers; this year, more than 100 of the bank’s employees are working with JA. BOH also serves as this year’s presenting sponsor for JA’s annual Business Hall of Fame event, which honors outstanding business leaders. This year’s inductees are Jay Kadowaki, founder of J. Kadowaki Inc.; Daniel B.T. Lau, one of the founders of Finance Factors, and Debbie Ching Maiava and Ric Maiava, owners of Ken’s Pancake House in Hilo.

“JA is fortunate to have wonderful, committed BOH volunteers,” JA program manager Arlene Kihara says. “With their support, we have been able to extend our financial literacy programs to all over the island.” Kihara adds that one prime example of BOH’s dedicated volunteer base is Daniel Yokoo (pictured above), Kaimuki branch manager and vice president. Recognizing a need for financial education, he started a JA program at Jarrett Middle School, a Title 1 school in Palolo.

“I really enjoy working with the students,” Yokoo says. “It is a lot of fun. It’s a lot of work, but it’s also really rewarding. Even if we can help just one or two kids make good decisions, I think that’s worth it.”

JA also has individual volunteers such as Danny and Maureen McFerrin, who began volunteering with JA at Waimalu Elementary more than a decade ago through JA’s military partnership program. The husband-wife team also manages the school’s partnership program to recruit volunteers. Last year, the McFerrins facilitated more than a dozen classes.

“The kids are actually the reason we keep doing this,” Danny says, “because it’s just wonderful working with them.”

“(Danny and Maureen) have devoted hundreds of hours, year after year, coordinating and teaching JA programs at Waimalu,” Kihara says.

Other JA major volunteer partners include: American Savings Bank, Amerprise Financial, AT&T, Central Pacific Bank, Chinen and Arinaga Financial Group, Deloitte and Touche, Diagnostic Laboratory Services,Farmers Hawaii Insurance, Finance Factors, First Hawaiian Bank, ING Direct, KPMG, Kraft Foods, State Farm Insurance, UH College of Education,Financial Planning Association, City and County of Honolulu, Department of Defense agencies, and parent and community groups.

For more on JA, call 545-1777 or visit jahawaii.org.