JA Volunteer Spotlight
Author: Jacqueline Lombardi
Published: Thursday, 24 Sep 2020
Image caption: Cindie Holtz volunteering at Hazardville Memorial School in Enfield, CT
Junior Achievement recognizes some of our wonderful volunteers!
We sat down with one of our long-time volunteers, Cindie Holtz, from UTC Aerospace Systems, and learned all about her JA story! See the full interview below!
- How long have you been involved with JA?
- We are going on twelve years now!
- What got you involved?
- I first saw the notification on one of our campus newsletters [at Collins Aerospace] for a company-sponsored volunteer event involving teaching students. Before I got my degree in IT, I was actually looking to get my degree in becoming a teacher. I love the kids, but I didn’t know if it would be the best fit for me. When I saw this opportunity, I thought this is a great way to fulfill my desire to teach. I had such a great time that day that I continued to volunteer at all the JA events as they would come up. When our company went through a merger, our communications manager moved down to Charlotte, and there was no one on campus to coordinate the JA volunteerism. She asked me to take it over, and I was happy to do it!
- What is your favorite JA story or moment?
- I have a few that come to mind! Way back when, the second grade donut game used to involve an assembly line team vs. a production line team. The teacher had decided to make the teams boys vs. girls. The boys were in the assembly line, which usually was the version that made the most donuts, but the girls blew them out of the water! They really put their heads down and worked together—I was impressed. Another story that comes to mind was during the Economics for Success Personal Budgeting lesson. One boy drew the fast food worker card, and after going around the room to choose what he could buy based on his salary, he came back and said “Man! I can’t go out to eat, I have to buy all my clothes at a thrift shop—this is so not happening to me in real life!” It was just that lightbulb moment where I thought “Yes! He gets it!”
- Why are you passionate about JA?
- All too often, kids have no idea about financial literacy, of what it takes to be successful, whether you’re working for someone else or starting your own business. Those skills are just so important for kids to know. It helps them be able to think critically. And it prepares them to communicate more effectively--being smart is one thing, but knowing the language that you will need to be successful is a different story. I tell the kids in every classroom I go to that they can do whatever they put their minds to. It doesn’t matter what it is—they should never let anyone tell them they can’t. If you’re willing to work hard for it, anything is possible. The other thing I love about JA is that most of the time, the students don’t even realize they are learning important life lessons because it’s so fun, and they’re having a blast! But returning year after year, you can see that they retained it—it’s the fact that it’s fun that makes them really learn it.
- What’s your favorite thing to do outside of work?
- I’m actually a gamer! My son is a techie, and it started for me just wanting to be a part of his life. I love to read—I’m very passionate about that, and it doesn’t matter much what it is. I’m also a Trekkie and a big Scooby Doo fan! My mom and I used to watch those shows when I was younger, and now I get to share them with my son.
Thank you, Cindie, for being such a great friend to Junior Achievement!