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Junior Achievement Through a FedEx Team Member's Eyes

jaMy name is Ceciel Halpern-Jackson and I have been involved with Junior Achievement in several capacities for almost 20 years.

I would like to start off with recollections of my personal experiences with JA. In 1993, I had the opportunity to chaperone my then 5th grader to JA’s Exchange City in Kansas City, Missouri.  I saw 11 to 12-year old students preparing for this all-day trip by writing job resumes, establishing “laws”/rules, learning how to balance a checkbook, and, during the program, conducting themselves as business “entrepreneurs”, learning what needs to be done to earn that paycheck at the end of the day.

Four years later, I found myself in Tennessee employed at FedEx as a single mom with 5 children. I took advantage of JA’s Classroom Volunteer Program for 7 years to spend more time with my kids by using an extended lunch hour to be in their classrooms from kindergarten through 6th grade (after that, your own kids really don’t want to see their mom in their school) – this was a great opportunity to see how my children were learning, who their friends were, etc.  

JA made it so easy for me by providing ALL the materials needed to present the program to the classroom and preparation for each classroom session consisted of minimal effort for me. Gratification for me was being able to spend quality time with my children, with a byproduct of also being able to reach out to other students in the classroom who looked to me as a role model.  I remember 1 young student in particular, who up to my presence in the classroom, would never raise his hand, was very shy, and hardly ever spoke, according to the teacher. Progressing through the 5-week session, I slowly started engaging him in the JA classroom activities and talking directly to him.  

By the end of the 5-week session, this same student was so eager to raise his hand to volunteer his thoughts and started socializing more with this classroom peers. The teacher called me several months later thanking me for helping this 1 student “break through” and that he has practically become a class leader!  Helping 1 student in any way through out each classroom session, whether it is through teaching about our economic principles or helping the student find pride in him/herself to build confidence, increased my passion for the purpose of JA.

For the last 7 years at FedEx, I wanted to continue my dedication to JA by supporting the annual Bowl-A-Thon fundraiser as company co-ordinator. With so many charitable organizations that FedEx supports, my passion for performing in this voluntary capacity is fueled knowing that the children of today will be the leaders of tomorrow.

Junior Achievement started in 1919 as a collection of small, after-school business clubs for students in Springfield, Massachusetts. In 1955, President Eisenhower declared January 30 to February 5 as National Junior Achievement Week. I am proud to say FedEx supports Junior Achievement, especially through the annual Bowlin-on-the River.

For more information on the Memphis and the Mid-South Bowl-A-Thon see website at FedEx intranet keyword JA.

For more information on Junior Achievement of Memphis, visit their website at: http://www.jamemphis.org

For more information on Junior Achievement Worldwide, visit their website at: http://www.ja.org

Comments (2) 

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How inspiring... thank you for sharing your story, Ceciel! I look forward to participating in the JA fundraising again this year!

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