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The Land of Oz: Volunteer Achievement - Druid City Living, Tuscaloosa's premier community newspaper.

The Land of Oz: Volunteer Achievement

Derek Osborn works with kids as part of Junior Achievement. Derek Osborn works with kids as part of Junior Achievement. Derek Osborn

 There are countless variables in the success of a non-profit in the world in which we live. Two of the most vital are funding and volunteers. One requires the gift of money. The other requires the gift of time. Both are crucial, and for some non-profits, the volunteer is even more important.   

One of the most rewarding volunteer opportunities I have every year is to volunteer for Junior Achievement. And if you don't know what they do, you should.  

On occasion, I’ve overheard parents and employers alike state that they wished schools would do a better job educating our children about general life skills and how the business world works. Skills such as balancing a checkbook, workforce readiness, entrepreneurship, and reinforcing the importance of education and staying in school would be welcome additions to the student curriculum. 

Would you be shocked to know that this already exists?     

Junior Achievement is a partnership between the business community, educators, and volunteers - all working together to inspire young people to dream big, reach their potential, and gain a better understanding of our economy. And the best part is, YOU can be a part of it. As a volunteer, you are matched with a local classroom and provided a kit of lesson guides, discussion points, and fun, interactive activity materials for the students. 

Anxious about going and presenting to a classroom full of kids? I completely understand. But don’t be: Junior Achievement staff provides training prior to your day(s) in the classroom and will walk you through the sessions, teaching techniques, classroom management, and how to use the JA materials. 

Of course, time is something all of us could use a little more of. But JA offers two different options for potential volunteers. There is the traditional format for those that can’t take a whole day off work in which the volunteer makes multiple brief trips to their assigned classroom for 30-45 minute lessons. The dates and times are chosen by the teacher and the volunteer to fit your schedule.  

Volunteers who prefer a one-day commitment would prefer “JA in a Day.” In this format, volunteers teach all five or six of the JA lessons back-to-back throughout the course of one school day. 

Here are some upcoming programs that you should consider being a part of: 


Traditional Opportunities (Multi-Trip Visits) 

Davis-Emerson Middle 

Echols Middle 

Hillcrest Middle 

Hillcrest High 

Walker Elementary (K-2) 

Verner Elementary (K) 


Upcoming “JA in a Day” Opportunities 

Brookwood Elementary –  4/27/17  

Westwood Elementary –  5/5/17 

Rock Quarry Elementary – 5/9/17 

Walker Elementary – 5/12/17 

Verner Elementary – 5/17/17 


Ready to get signed up? Contact: Carla Harris, (205) 391-0335; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Nisa Moore, (205) 391-0564; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Opportunities like this are how we can invest in the future of our community. Most people would agree that donating six short hours once a year would be well-worth their time if it helped kids be more prepared for the challenges of the real world. JA is a great opportunity to do just that. 

I tweet insignificant things @ozborn34.           

Derek Osborn is the Executive Director of PRIDE of Tuscaloosa by trade and writer by hobby.  He lives in Tuscaloosa with his wife, Lynn, and their daughters Savannah and Anica.   


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Derek Osborn

Executive Director at PRIDE of Tuscaloosa, the only  non-profit agency in the Tuscaloosa area that informs and educates the parents, students, and community about the use and abuse of alcohol and drugs.


Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.



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