February is best known for Valentine’s Day, but did you know that this month has many other “holidays” including Umbrella Day, National Gum Drop Day, Tell a Fairy Tale Day, and, my personal favorite, National Drink Wine Day?
Not that I have anything against celebrating love; however, designating one day to recognize such a significant and complex emotion seems to fall short of its significance. What really matters is what happens after the chocolate hearts have been eaten and the roses have wilted. After all, love is not a sprint, it is a marathon and the fuel that keeps it running is passion.
Romantic love is one thing, but what really inspires me is passion for a purpose. It is no secret that my passion lies in helping young people understand and embrace free enterprise. And, to my delight, a passion for JA’s mission inspires thousands of volunteers who devote their time and energy to helping students understand money management, develop valuable work readiness skills and see a wealth of possibilities for their futures. Last school year, 5,960 local volunteers served JA students. Our volunteers are amazing, and two, in particular, come to mind – Ron and Derenny Weil.
On average, JA volunteers teach one or two programs a year – which is an extremely meaningful contribution. Multiply that commitment by 20, and you’ll begin to understand Ron and Derenny’s passion. Their love for JA’s purpose and for the students they teach has driven them to dedicate themselves to helping young people learn and flourish. During the fall JA Stock Market Challenge, for example, Ron and Derenny dedicated two full days helping JA staff deliver four successful events to Colorado high school students. They didn’t go home between programs; instead, they stayed at a local hotel in order to be nearby and on time for their next volunteer shift.
We cannot do the work we do without the heart and dedication of volunteers like Ron and Derenny. Their story is inspiring, and I invite you to read more about it in this month’s volunteer profile.
As you express your love for your spouse, your family and your friends this February, don’t forget to focus some time on doing what you love and supporting the causes that you hold close to your heart. One of the most satisfying things you will ever do is to share your passion with others.