Before he was a JA classroom volunteer, a director at Grant Thornton or a graduate student in accounting at Oklahoma City University, Colin Spreier was a middle school student. He was an eighth grader learning about business, the stock market and the power of money from Jane Haskin, a bank executive and JA volunteer.
While Colin already had an interest in business, his JA experience reinforced his future educational and career goals, and Jane made a lasting impression.
“I loved JA in school, and I was inspired by our volunteer,” said Colin. “Jane gave me her business card, and I kept it. When I was in high school, I remembered her offer to help us if we ever needed it, and I called her up. I told her I was interested in working for a bank. Without any hesitation, Jane helped me secure a teller position at Union Bank in Oklahoma City, a job that saw me through high school and college.”
Colin’s JA volunteer had a meaningful impact in his life, and Colin is “paying it forward” through his own JA volunteerism. Along with his Grant Thornton colleagues, Colin volunteers in elementary school classrooms, teaching a number of different grades and programs.
“Whether I’m in a lower-income school or a more affluent community, all of the kids are super excited to learn about money and business. I’m always surprised at how engaged they are and how much fun they have with the curriculum,” said Colin.
“JA was the only exposure I had to financial and business education in my early education, and it’s rewarding to bring the knowledge and excitement of economics and entrepreneurship to today’s kids. It’s a valuable supplement to teacher instruction.”
In addition to continuing to teach JA in the classroom, Colin is considering other ways he might lend his experience and skills to the organization, expressing interest in some day serving on the board of directors.
And, not surprisingly, Colin shares, “I really hope that through my work with JA I have the opportunity to help a young person in the same way my JA volunteer helped me.”