Volunteer Gives Back to the Organization that Gave so Much to Him

We love hearing stories about alumni returning to Junior Achievement, whether it's as a volunteer, educator, board member, donor or parent. David Nelms, a volunteer with Junior Achievement of Chicago, is one such example.

Long before David became the CEO of Riverwoods, Ill.,-based Discover Financial Services Inc., he was in Junior Achievement during his junior and senior years of high school in St. Petersburg, Fla. David was the president of his JA company, which was structured similarly to a mutual fund.

David said his JA Company Program team was sponsored by a real broker and they had permission to buy a single share of stock. "Every week we met in the brokerage office and studied stocks, and every week we voted on what stock to buy. I think we ended up ahead by the end of the year."

Now, decades later, David is providing that experience to the next generation of students. He said one of the best aspects of volunteering is when the students are surprised to learn that certain things can be a career--like marketing.

"They understand retail because they see it. They know about firefighters and teachers. You see children opening up and realizing there are lots of companies that do things that are important to their everyday lives that they don't know about, like law or marketing or technology.

"JA provides time-proven, impactful approaches. I've found the students like to hear personal examples and stories, including things that didn't go well or funny situations that go beyond a lesson plan," David concluded.

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