JA BizTown Alumna Returns to Junior Achievement to Pay it Forward

Among the most committed of Junior Achievement volunteers are typically JA alumni. Those who have experienced a personal transformation because of a JA experience in their youth often become powerful advocates as adults. Tawnya Hambly, public relations director of Junior Achievement of the Heartland, recently shared an article about just such an alumna: Kelli Sullens. The article <http://qctimes.com/lifestyles/announcements/salute/q-c-area-woman-impacts-kids-through-junior-achievement/article_1d0b21bc-5e7b-11e2-a222-001a4bcf887a.html> appeared in the Jan. 15 edition of the Davenport, Iowa, Quad City Times.When Sullens sees the inspiration in the students she teaches, she is reminded of the wonderful Junior Achievement experience she had when she was a student. Her fifth-grade year was highlighted by her participation in JA BizTown?. So when the opportunity arose for Sullens to volunteer with Junior Achievement, she quickly agreed to teach fifth-graders at McKinley Elementary School in Muscatine, Iowa. "The result has been an amazing experience in paying it forward," Sullens said in the article. "When they asked for volunteers to teach JA, I signed up right away. I remember being very influenced by it when I was a student. It was truly fun, and I absorbed a lot of information from it. It was really a great experience that changed my life."[Kelli Sullens 3] <http://juniorachievementusa.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/kelli-sullens-3.jpg>Sullens helps prepare students for participation in JA BizTown. Her own experience of running a newspaper in her elementary school?s version of JA BizTown helped her decide to major in journalism and public relations and to minor in entrepreneurship in college. Sullens likes the idea of "returning the favor and having an influence on young minds. The whole paying it forward idea and giving kids a reason to be excited were both very important to me."She seemed to have an immediate effect on the students she taught. "After the program, the students sent me cards about their impressions of it, and it was amazing to me to read them and see how it impacted them, the same way it had impacted me when I was that age," Sullens said.Sullens recommends becoming a JA volunteer to anyone. "JA is an outstanding program. It gives kids direction in life. I?m proof of that," she said. "I would never have guessed that a one-day JA activity in fifth grade would have such an influence when choosing my degree and my career."[Kelli Sullens 2] <http://juniorachievementusa.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/kelli-sullens-2.jpg>Photos courtesy of Quad-City Times.

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