Knowledge is power. Unfortunately, regardless of economic background, many students do not understand how learning in school connects to their future success in their careers and in life. That is where Junior Achievement of Mid-Michigan comes in. “Junior Achievement of Mid-Michigan’s mission is to promote financial literacy, entrepreneurship and work readiness in the lives of young people of all ages,” said William Coderre, president of Junior Achievement of Michigan Great Lakes, Inc. “We do that by building relationships between working professionals and classrooms.” These relationships are formed through hands-on programming that reaches students in grades kindergarten through 12. Each program is age specific, and ties in real-world knowledge and experience with content that students are already learning in their classrooms. Coderre continues, “Our goal is to give students ownership over their future, giving them knowledge of finances and money management, valuable skills necessary in the workplace and an awareness of the scope of potential careers awaiting them when they graduate.” Last year Junior Achievement reached 6,400 students in the Lansing area in 35 different schools. Their goal through the next few years is to see the number of students reached grow to 15,000. In-class programs last five to seven weeks, with a volunteer visiting once a week during that span. This allows students to be exposed to real-world lessons and personal stories from those who have already been successful in the workforce. Because of the program’s emphasis on mentorship, volunteers are extremely important and always needed. “Without our trained business professionals volunteering to teach our programs we would not be succeeding in what our founding fathers strived for,” Coderre said. “Volunteers play a crucial role in Junior Achievement’s mission.” On top of their work in schools, Junior Achievement has a variety of events and fundraisers, one of which is happening this month. “Coming up on Wednesday, Dec. 5, is our JA Star Makers Breakfast, an entertaining, one-of-a-kind networking event starring local JA students. Auto Owners is the title sponsor for this year’s event. Individual tickets are available, as are larger sponsorships,” Coderre said. If you wish to volunteer or want to learn more, visit www.jamidmichigan.org.