On May 1st, I was again fortunate enough to have the opportunity to teach Economics for Success to a group of high school students, this time in Richmond, BC.
Without a doubt, the experience will be a highlight of the month, and I’d like to tell you why.
Economics for Success Background
The Economics for Success curriculum was designed by, and is delivered through, Junior Achievement British Columbia (JABC). The course is geared toward engaging grade 9/10 students on topics such as personal budgeting and career planning in a way that they otherwise wouldn’t be in the standard BC curriculum. Content is delivered by volunteers such as me, and the program is made available at no charge to the schools. Junior Achievement itself is a not-for-profit and is the world’s largest organization dedicated to educating young people about business. Locally, Cheryl Borgmann, Regional Manager, Lower Mainland, and her team do an exceptional job of coordinating us volunteers and supporting us to the deliver the best in-class experience that we can.
Why I Do It
At Iridia, all employees are fortunate to have 3 paid volunteer days per year that they can use to give back in some way within their community. In looking at the multitude of options, JABC struck a chord with me for several reasons. Firstly, it gave me the opportunity to teach which I simply love to do – indeed when teaching, time simply flies by. Secondly, it aligned perfectly with Iridia’s corporate value of Lifelong Learning. Lastly, it addresses an unmet need. I feel the course opens the door to a new way of thinking and provides some excellent tactical tools that will serve the students well as they grow up and start a career. Many of us, even as adults, could improve our planning and budgeting skills, so the chance to help instill some of these basics at an early age is very powerful in my eyes.
The rewards for participating in JABC are numerous, and here are a few that really stand out to me.
- There is nothing quite like watching students connect new ideas for the first time, make a realization, and then adjust their train of thought accordingly. Watching this happen in real time, maybe as they realize just how much of their paycheque will be sacrificed to drive that shiny new car, is quite impactful to see.
- Watching Cheryl and her team at JABC as they magically bring all the pieces to bear to continually tweak, schedule, and ultimately deliver this program is quite a sight to behold. Not even a year ago, I knew little of them, nor of the great work they do — but now I do.
- Working alongside my teaching partner Ed Gilbert, a consummate professional, is reward unto itself. Ed’s passion and commitment to this program is infectious, and his in-class enthusiasm resonates incredibly well with the students we teach. It’s great to see career professionals giving of their time so genuinely.
- On a more selfish level, I love the feeling I get from volunteering. We are all busy and have a myriad of commitments. They can feel all-encompassing and overwhelming. “If only I had an extra hour/day” inevitably floats to the forefront of our psyche. The irony, of course, it that it is precisely during such times that a volunteering experience can be maximally beneficial.
And that’s why May has started off on such a positive note. The JABC Economics for Success program, as with all JABC programs I’m sure, is always in demand and as such teaching opportunities will be available next year. I for one, can’t wait!
In closing, if you have the opportunity to volunteer through your employer, please do give it some considering. The rewards are numerous, and the opportunity to learn about yourself, your community, and your fellow citizens in unrivaled.
President, Iridia Medical