JA Volunteer Empowers Students, Future Entrepreneurs

When JA of Mid-Michigan volunteer Shelley Lowe arrived at Everett High School for her first reverse Job Shadow, she had no idea her crowd of students would show so much interest in what she had to share. Lynnette Hibbs with the JA office in Lansing, shared Shelley's story.

"It was incredible! Seriously. It was so much fun, I can't even tell you," said Shelley, the Executive Director of Career Services at Davenport University.

The reverse Job Shadow took place on an ACT prep day, and as a result, many classes had substitute teachers and classrooms were reassigned. The students were not expected to learn much on this "off day." The students expressed surprise as Shelley began to pass out the product for her presentation: hand crafted soap. She told the students they could start their own business and then led the activity to let the students make their own soap. Shelley said that the majority of businesses are individually owned and that some of the students would own a business one day. One student shot his hand in the air and said, "I am going to be a mechanic. My dad is a mechanic and I'm going to work with him in his shop!"

Shelley used this as an opportunity to start a conversation on partnerships, LLCs, sole proprietorships and succession planning. Shelley felt that her JA experience was a calling to empower the students and give them hope for a future that they may not readily see ahead of them."It was really a short in the arm," concluded Shelley. "When I do things in the high schools with JA, I don?t worry about the direction of the world. We have some really bright kids out there."

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