For 42 years, Ron and Derenny Weil have done everything together – launched and run successful businesses, traveled the world, raised a family and served the community. Now that they’re retired, their time together includes volunteering for Junior Achievement.
Since 2014, Ron and Derenny have collectively inspired more than 2,000 students to take ownership of their future economic success. This makes them elite members of the JA Apple Society, a group of dedicated JA volunteers who have each influenced 250 students or more.
Ron played sports as a youngster, and while he was in Jr. High, a coach took a special interest in mentoring him and ensuring that he was prepared for life outside the classroom.
“He taught me the importance of a strong work ethic, how to organize myself and to always be accountable and honest in my everyday interactions,” shared Ron.
Ron’s coach was not a businessman, yet the principles he shared helped launched Ron into several successful careers in food service, manufacturing and other endeavors. Most importantly, Ron learned the value of investing in young people, and teaching them the real-life skills they will need to become self-sufficient, successful adults.
Derenny spent many years involved in 4-H, which taught her the importance of setting goals, working hard and staying committed to a project in order to be successful. She experienced the feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction that come when projects exceed expectations, and she enjoys sharing these life lessons with young people.
Ron was introduced to JA more than 30 years ago and his fond memories of teaching JA at North High School influenced his and Derenny’s decision to again volunteer for JA. Since then, they have volunteered together for nearly every K-12 program that JA offers! The couple is incredibly dedicated to ensuring that young people have the financial literacy and life skills they need to be successful. In fact, Ron and Derenny often enhance JA curriculum with personal presentations that they create, which include current events and personal stories that bring the JA lessons they teach to life.
At the beginning of each lesson, regardless of grade level, the Weils encourage students to ask questions about any subject; JA curriculum, their business experiences, finances or current events. It’s a great way to create a connection with the students.
“We also spend time talking about the importance of synergy – learning to work together to do something greater than you can do alone,” said Derenny.
When asked about a favorite JA memory, the Weils have a lot to share. In particular, they are proud of a moment when the mother of a fourth grader called to ask the teacher who was teaching her child such advanced concepts in school. They had hosted a dinner party the evening before, and the adults began discussing investment options and financial goals. Their nine-year-old daughter chimed in, inquiring about compound interest rates, rates of return and much more. Everyone was stunned!
When asked why they volunteer with JA, Ron said, “JA provides us an opportunity to interact with students, teaching them about financial literacy, entrepreneurship, teamwork and the free enterprise system. The positive feedback from students is rewarding for us. We frequently receive notes and emails from students who share the positive impact we’ve made.
“We strongly encourage others to get involved with JA. The staff provides us with great support, making it easy to be successful,” said Ron.
To learn how you can volunteer with JA, please go to: https://www.jacolorado.org/individual-volunteers/.