Volunteer FAQ

What is Junior Achievement?
Junior Achievement (JA) is the world’s largest organization dedicated to equipping students in grades K-12 with the skills needed to effectively manage money, prepare for the workforce, and start businesses. Our experiential programs help prepare young people for the real world by showing them how to generate wealth and effectively manage it, how to create jobs that make our communities more robust, and how to apply entrepreneurial thinking to the workplace. Students put these lessons into action and learn the value of contributing to their communities. JA’s unique approach allows community volunteers to deliver our curriculum while sharing their experience and expertise with students. Our classroom volunteers transform the key concepts of JA’s lessons into a message that inspires and empowers students to believe in themselves, showing them they can make a difference in the world. JA programs align with state and national curriculum standards. Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest (JAUM) is our area’s local office, reaching students in Minnesota, North Dakota and western Wisconsin.

What will I be teaching?
You will be delivering programs created by professional curriculum development staff at JA USA. JA programs begin at the elementary school level, teaching children how they can impact the world around them as individuals, workers and consumers. JA programs continue through the middle grades and high school, focusing on the key content areas of financial literacy, work and career readiness, and entrepreneurship.

What are the qualifications?
No prior training is needed to be a JA volunteer. You just need enthusiasm, good communication skills and a desire to make a difference. We’ll provide all the materials and training you need before you enter the classroom.

What type of training is involved?
The volunteer orientation training takes approximately one hour and is available in-person or online. JA will send information once registered and scheduled for your first experience.

Do I need to create the lesson plans and activities?
No. All the lesson plans and activities for use in the classroom or in our JA experiential learning labs are created for the volunteer and detailed in an easy-to-follow guidebook. We’ll also provide you with all of the materials necessary to teach the program or lesson.

What resources are available to help me prepare to volunteer?
The easy to use materials include a concise Consultant Guide with teaching scripts, activities and vocabulary words. We also have many volunteer resources available online. Be sure to read or view the following:

General tips for working with students
JA in a Day Volunteer Presentation Packet (click on grade level from list)
Checklist for weekly delivery classes
Tips for engaging with students (video)
The real JA volunteer experience (video)

Will I be alone in the classroom?
No, the teacher will always remain in the classroom to assist with any issues that may arise. The volunteer presents each activity to the students; the teacher is present to provide classroom management, offer insight into the class and to help out if the volunteer needs assistance.

How much time will it take to teach JA programs in the classroom?
Each elementary school program consists of five (30-45 minute) lessons that can be delivered in a multi-visit format or all in one day (“JA-in-a-Day”). The middle and high school programs have five to seven (45 minute) lessons, depending on the JA program. The JA High School Company Program is thirteen lessons. Volunteering in one of the JA learning labs in St. Paul is a one-time, 4.5 hour experience.

How much time will it take to prepare for each separate learning activity?
JA at a local school/classroom: It is best to allow at least a half hour to prepare for each 30-45 minute lesson. This is probably more time than you need, but each program is different and requires different preparation. As you become familiar with the program format and activities, it will take less time to prepare. Training for JA BizTown or JA Finance Park in our learning lab is one hour and takes place the morning of your volunteer experience.

What age group would I teach?
We’ll match you with a grade level of your choice (kindergarten through 12th grade), or you can select your volunteer assignment based on a specific school or teacher.

Can I volunteer at my child’s school?
Yes, if an opportunity is available. We make every effort to place you where you feel most comfortable. Sometimes there are more requests than openings. In that scenario, we’d ask that you volunteer in another school/classroom where there is a need until we can place you at the school that you prefer.

How do I get JA into my child’s school?
We are always looking for “ambassadors” to help us expand into more schools. If there is not a JA program in your child’s school, please contact JA to see how you can help.

Is JA taught during the school day?
JA offers after-school programs, but core programs are taught during school hours. The days/times for elementary school programs are agreed upon between the volunteer and teacher; for middle and high school programs the days/time may be predetermined.

What are the benefits of being a JA volunteer?
Volunteering with JA not only helps to inspire and prepare local students, it can also strengthen your communication, self-confidence, coaching, leadership, presentation, facilitation and time management skills. Companies that encourage employees to volunteer with JA enhance their image by demonstrating their commitment to educating today’s youth and supporting the local community.

How do I sign up to volunteer?
Complete the online volunteer registration form, call us at 651-255-0055, or email info@jaum.org.

What do I need to do prior to volunteering?
Follow these steps to make your volunteer experience rewarding for both you and the students:

  • Register as a volunteer
  • Connect with JA staff and together select your volunteer opportunity
  • Participate in volunteer training (in person or online)
  • Know your arrival time, parking location, have easy access to the contact info of your JA or teacher contact.
  • Prepare for a successful experience by reviewing the provided JA program materials

Have a question not listed here? Contact us at 651-255-0055 or info@jaum.org. Thanks for your interest in becoming a JA volunteer!