Author: Cassie Benzinger
Published: Tuesday, 02 Sep 2014
Christina Brandi has a very successful career as an AVP Business Test Lead with JPMorgan Chase on Long Island. She loves her job in the banking and finance industry, but she has another passion that she has been pursuing for 11 years. Christina is also a volunteer coordinator for Junior Achievement ofNew York. In this role, she promotes Junior Achievement volunteer opportunities in her workplace and helps recruit her colleagues to deliver JA programs to high need school communities on Long Island. During the 2013-14 school year, Christina was personally responsible for recruiting and deploying more than 70 volunteers who provided JA program experiences to over 60 classes, serving over 1,300 students on Long Island. To date, Christina?s total personal volunteer efforts, and her volunteer recruitment impact, has resulted in delivery of 7,697 JA program experiences to the students of Long Island. Christina clearly illustrates that one person can make a significant difference in the lives of others. This is why we are unanimous in our decision to recognize Christina as our 2013-2014 Volunteer Coordinator of the Year. Christina?s work on behalf of Junior Achievement will have a profound effect on the potential of the children who participate in JA programs. This is especially important to Christina since she was born and raised on Long Island. The roots in her community go deep. She still resides in the Glen Head/Glen Cove area where she was born and raised. As a mother of two young boys, as well as a citizen in her community, she cares deeply about the economic future of her community. Christina is committed to doing all that she can to ensure that the children of long Island not only have the resources and access to pathways of success in school and in life, but that they also have the vital support, encouragement and knowledge they need to succeed in a dynamically changing economic landscape.JA of New York <http://www.jany.org/> sat down with Christina to talk about her volunteer experience with Junior Achievement and the benefits of this cause to her, her colleagues and her community.Q: Who taught you how to manage your money to achieve financial stability?A: A few key family members introduced me to basic money management skills as a child. I also learned from some childhood board games as well such as Monopoly and The Game of Life. Actually, there is a wonderful JA Personal Finance budgeting activity, at the high school level, that is very similar to The Game of Life.Q: When you were a kid, who inspired you to want to do well in school and in life?A: As a child, I grew up in a two-family household with nine family members, including my grandparents and great aunt, great uncle and godfather. Although there were two apartments that made up the house, it was an open door policy where we normally all ate together and supported each other. I was lucky to have a supportive, extended family unit that truly influenced me to succeed in school and in life.Q: What compelled you to start volunteering with JA?A: When I attended Siena College <https://www.siena.edu/> for my undergraduate studies, where I majored in finance, I joined the Delta Sigma Pi professional business fraternity. Junior Achievement was one of the community service volunteer opportunities offered to fraternity members. In my sophomore year, I signed up to teach a weekly JA class at a local elementary school in Troy, NY.Q: You have been a volunteer with JA for more than 10 years. What makes you return to volunteering with Junior Achievement each year? Why is this cause important to you?A: First, I am thrilled and flattered that Junior Achievement of New York is recognizing me as the 2013-2014 Volunteer Coordinator of the Year. And what makes me return to JA each year? For me, it has always been about the kids! As a business professional and most importantly, as a mother, I feel strongly that financial literacy, college and career readiness and entrepreneurship are critical life skills that children need to begin learning at an early age. I love how JA offers curriculum around these three vitally important content areas to the kindergarten through 12th grades.Q: What is your most memorable JA moment?A: The kids are so grateful to have us in their classrooms. For them, it is exciting to see a new face and to learn from people who work in different industries. They love that you think they are important enough to come and spend a day or more teaching them basic life skills and sharing our life experiences. The best moment for me was after I taught my first JA class; I received so many thank you notes and beautiful cards handmade by the children. It really touched me.Q: What is the most important thing you as a volunteer can do for the children you serve?A: The most important thing I can do is to keep on doing what I do for as long as I can do it. I serve as the volunteer coordinator for all JPMorgan Chase JA activities on Long Island. I manage and support all JPMC volunteer tasks related to JA weekly classes, JA in a Day, JA Job Shadow events, and JA Business Education Days. I also help organize my colleagues to fundraise for JA through our annual company-sponsored JA Bowl-A-Thon. I love this cause, and I am proud of what my company and colleagues are doing to ensure that the students of NYC and Long Island receive opportunities to develop skills that are vital for success in a global economy.
Junior Achievement Student
"Junior Achievement has given me a sense of what adults go through with budget issues."
Junior Achievement Student
"I liked how the Junior Achievement volunteer explained his job to us."