See the difference you can make in a young person’s life

Joe Acker was the first in his family to graduate with a college degree, and understands first hand the hard work, discipline and eventual rewards of investing in higher education. Joe is now a successful Accounting Manager, and in 2002 he decided that he wanted to “pay-it-forward” and get involved in an organization that was “really making an impact on students” and inspiring them to continue their education.

Since then, Joe has volunteered with JA in many capacities: teaching students in the classroom, coordinating his former company’s fundraising efforts, trading stocks for students at the JA Stock Market Challenge, and serving as a Company Advisor for JA’s Business Week, a week-long summer business program for high school students. In 2009, Joe was inducted into the JA Apple Society for his outstanding volunteer efforts: to date, he has taught 48 classes and impacted over 1,100 students! Joe says that his favorite part of volunteering has been the relationships he has made with the students at JA Business Week. Of JA Business Week, he says that “There is a lot of learning going on, but also a lot of laughing. I’m still friends with a lot of the students: I’ve helped them in their business ventures, and written letters of recommendation for them.”

For the past two years, Joe has made a generous personal pledge to support Junior Achievement. He even asked his fellow Apple Society members to join him in donating through a letter campaign. He says that it was an easy decision to make to donate, because the impact Junior Achievement programs have on young people is so tangible. Joe recalls seeing several of his JA Business Week students receive a JA Inspiration Scholarship to go to college, and says of the experience: “It is so neat to actually see the difference you can make in a young person’s life!” Joe adds that he would encourage everyone to get involved with JA, because “it is easy, rewarding and a great way to give back, because none of us have gotten where we are on our own!”

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