JA Volunteer's Work Inspires Her Coworkers and Motivates Her Students

Mayra Lugo has volunteered more than 1,000 hours so far to teaching financial literacy to Spanish-speaking students in kindergarten and first grade with Junior Achievement. Photo courtesy of 3BL Media.

JA volunteers make special connections with students by sharing their experiences and helping them make the connection between what they are learning in school and what they will need to succeed in work and life. The staff at Junior Achievement of Chicago related this inspiring story from one of their most dedicated volunteers.

Baxter finance director Mayra Lugo has been involved with Junior Achievement of Chicago for more than 17 years. Mayra recently received a package of thank-you notes delivered to her office and said it was one of the best thank you's she has ever received. On each thank you, the students shared the stories that Mayra had told them, the games they played together and the things she had taught them through the JA lessons. "I realized that having someone visit their class from outside their school and homes is a big deal to them. They may not remember the entire lesson, but they will remember that someone came to their classroom, talked to them about the importance of school and gave them a perspective from the real world," Mayra said.

Mayra has volunteered more than 1,000 hours of teaching Junior Achievement. Originally from Puerto Rico, Mayra feels she has an obligation to use her Spanish fluency to teach bilingual students about the importance of staying in school, getting a good job, and being able to buy the items they need and want.

"When I started at Baxter, we reached 15 classrooms through JA; now we serve more than 250," Mayra said. "Having the flexibility to step out of the office and into the classroom makes working with JA possible. My reward is the energy from the kids, their curiosity when learning new concepts, and their little-raised hands wanting to answer my questions."

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