When Tonya Mazurek, Vice President, Business Banking Officer at BBVA Compass, was asked to volunteer for BBVA’s semiannual JA in a Day, she eagerly stepped up. “I loved the idea that I could possibly make a difference in just one child’s life,” said Tonya. “I wanted the kids to know there are a lot of people out there that care what happens to them even though they might not know it. If just one kid goes on to college or tries harder in school because they want something better, then it was a success.”
Tonya’s JA in a Day happened to fall on the same day as her birthday. And while she loved the fact that the students helped her celebrate by giving her hugs and high fives, Tonya’s favorite part of volunteering with JA was seeing something spark in the eyes of her students. “That I could help them know how interconnected we all are,” said Tonya. “It doesn’t matter where you come from it only matters where you choose to go!”
Tonya is grateful to BBVA for giving her the opportunity to give back to her community and she is already looking forward to next year’s JA in a Day. “The fact that BBVA Compass encourages us to give of our time and I was able to do this during business hours helped me reconnect to a feeling you can only get with giving of yourself with nothing expected in return,” said Tonya.
Tonya offers the following advice to other first-time volunteers:
“Come with a sense of humor, let them see you for who you are. Kids are smarter than we give them credit for, they see through us better than any adult ever will, as they haven’t made decisions about the world based on experiences. Connect with them through who you are, share your stories, share your failures and wins and don’t forget you were once a kid…. Suits are too stiff!”