GGCC’S Rowles Volunteers for Junior Achievement of Greater Washington
I live my life by giving. Because let’s face it, you truly haven’t lived until you have done something for someone that you know can never repay you. That feeling you get that the simplest acts of kindness can make a tremendous impact on someone’s life is priceless.
As the Director of Events & Marketing for the Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce (GGCC), it affords me opportunities to be involved in the community. I volunteer for a variety of non-profits, I have found a home on the City of Gaithersburg’s Book Festival committee, I sit on the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development’s Small Business Awards Luncheon advisory committee and I have held a volunteer board position for the last six years with the Corporate Volunteer Council of Montgomery County (CVC-MC).
The CVC-MC educates businesses on effective practices and address community needs through workplace volunteering. Employee volunteerism is not a new concept. And businesses are recognizing the value that providing service opportunities to employees brings to the company, the employees themselves and the community.
It is through the CVC-MC, GGCC Member DeLeon & Stang, CPAs & Advisors last year that I was exposed to Junior Achievement of Greater Washington (JA). JA empowers young people to economic success. “From kindergarten through twelfth grade, JA’s programs provide financial literacy education experiences to students”. The JA lessons are taught by adult volunteer, role models from the local community, including businesspeople, parents, and university students.
My first experience teaching a JA program was JA’s “Economics for Success” at Farquhar Middle School in Olney. This five-part lesson provides practical information about “personal finance and the importance of identifying education and career goals based on a student’s skills, interests, and values”. It was absolutely terrifying at first. But once I saw the glimmer in the kid’s eyes, their attention to me, their willingness to learn, their thirst for knowledge and knowing that something I said or did in that classroom during the next few hours may make a difference in one child’s life, an inner peace came over me and I was ready to teach.
Gandhi said “you may never know what results will come from your actions, but if you do nothing – there will be no results.”
I wanted to do something for our future. So, I volunteered again this past February at Montgomery Village Middle School. Talk about night and day schools. Here I learned a valuable lesson; students do not care how much you know, until they know how much you care. So I went with the old “you learn something new every day” routine and gave them some incentive to learn and these students did great. Every child is different, so if a child can’t learn in a way that we teach, we must adapt, change course and teach in a way that a child can learn.
Needless to say, both of my teaching experiences were amazing and absolutely rewarding. If you ever have the opportunity or want the opportunity to volunteer, volunteer for JA in a Day. I highly suggest this rewarding and memorable volunteering experience. After all, education is the most powerful weapon for changing the world.
Last week, I volunteered with JA in a new way, serving as a 2014 Junior Achievement Essay Competition Preliminary Judge, The competition is open to high school students in Washington, DC and 17 counties in southern Maryland and northern Virginia, Essays are 1,000 – 1,500 words each; I judged 35 of them. The grand prize winner receives a $20,000 scholarship and there are nine runner-up winners who will each receive $10,000. Three schools with the most eligible essays in each of DC, MD, & VA will receive $6,000.
The 2014 essay competition question was “should young Americans be required to spend at least one year in public service or is such a requirement an unnecessary government intrusion?” I must say I was floored by the responses in these essays. These students were made to think and they thought thoroughly and executed well. I was extremely impressed with their creativity, originality, persuasiveness, intelligence and understanding of the subject matter. The final judging will most definitely be a hard task if the other preliminary judges essays were as good as mine were.
JA is just one non-profit that has a membership with the GGCC. The Chamber has a non-profit sector group that meets monthly at various non-profit sites. The goal of the committee is to create a network of non-profits, foundations, business partners and individuals dedicated to supporting GGCC’s non-profit members by becoming a resource to each other, a voice for the community and by raising the awareness of the important role and work of our non-profit community. Learn more about our group at: www.ggchamber.org/get-involved/non-profit-cluster/.
Your life is your message to the world. Make sure it’s inspiring!
Ways to Get Involved
GGCC Non-Profit Group
Why does this group exist?
- Getting to know the nonprofits that serve the same community as you and your organization serve
- Raising your own profile in the community as well as the collective nonprofit community profile
- Bouncing ideas off one another
- Taking advantage of your membership in the GGCC in a more individualized environment
- Adding a benefit to your chamber membership at no additional cost
- Building community and relationships in the nonprofit sector
Learn more about this group and/or the GGCC at: www.ggchamber.org
Brand New Program: The CVC-MC is proud to host “Engage, Implement, Grow: The Value of Corporate Volunteerism”, a 5-part series focused on developing high-impact and sustainable employee volunteer programs to help businesses meet their community engagement goals. We understand that every business has unique business goals they wish to achieve through their nonprofit relationships; we serve to help identify those goals and a path to success through employee engagement. This program series, featuring international corporate social responsibility expert Bea Boccalandro, is the perfect way for businesses of all sizes to harness more than 20 years of knowledge and best practices in the field. Learn more about this program and/or the CVC-MC at: www.cvc-mc.org
Learn more about JA at: http://www.myja.org/
The GGCC is active in providing business-to-business networking opportunities throughout the year: a collective voice in local, regional, and state legislative affairs, professional development opportunities and other services that enhance the business environment.