Volunteer Finds Sweet Success Helping Students

Carol Bouché, district manager for Junior Achievement of Greater St. Louis, shared a recent email from a JA volunteer whose initial anxiety about presenting to first-graders transformed into appreciation for her students' entrepreneurial spirit.The volunteer, a business development officer for the St. Louis County Economic Council, wasn't sure her career in business lending would be interesting to children. "I was surprised to find that the students were profoundly interested," she said.Inspired by their interest, the volunteer planned a special activity. She explained, "I put together a very simple business plan for a lemonade stand. I printed "pretend" money and walked them through the financing, materials and stand purchase, sales process, and profitability, on a very basic scale. They loved it."

Normally, a volunteer's experience might end there. But during a "particularly stressful morning," this volunteer saw a lemonade stand on the way to an appointment and decided to stop. She was surprised to find the stand was operated by one of her students."The chance meeting turned a bad day into an excellent week," she said. "The student was so excited to see me and his mom thanked me. It did cost me $5 for a glass of lemonade, even though they were only charging 50 cents, as per my business plan. I was very glad that I helped to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit of a first grader, and that he had a wonderful mom that was willing to see him through it."

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