When I started with the Ottawa Network for Education 12 years ago, I really did not know what I was getting into.
I was approached by a friend of mine to help present a day program to a grade eight class. At the time, I saw it as small way to give back to the community – a small time commitment where some kids would appreciate “fun” day off from their regular schedule. And while the program was that for the kids – for me it became much more.
After the session, I was speaking to some of the kids, and I truly understood the impact that the program, and that we the volunteers, had on them. I will always remember this one grade eight girl. She sat in the front row, in a bright pink, velour, track suit. Her goal – as disclosed by her to the class – was to drop out of school at 16 and work at her cousin’s hair salon.
After we had presented our Economics for Success program, she made time to come and see us. She said that our presentation had changed some of her ideas. She said she thought that she would try to finish off high school. She said dropping out of school, might not be a good idea.
I do not know if she completed secondary school – but I like to think that we made her think about it. And I know that the Junior Achievement (JA) program made her re-evaluate her decisions.
Participating in the ONFE programs is something to which I look forward. I hope that the conversations, discussions, and presentations, will cause the children to pause, think, and foster new ideas and new lines of thought. To some this may seem unlikely, even laughable. But I have seen its impact. And I know the value it can bring.
It makes me proud to stand in front of a group and tell them I work for an organization like CIBC that supports it community through programs like JA Business Basics, JA Economics for Success, and JA Titan Program.
I call on everyone to stand up and try to add value to their community. The programs are fun, and the rewards gratifying.
Financial Advisor , CIBC Imperial Service