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National Volunteer Month – Bob Perini

Manager, Data Center Services

PSCU

How many years have you been volunteering for JA?

Just over 20 years; 14 of them at Northeast High School’s Academy of Finance.

In what capacity?

Classroom volunteer.

How did you first become involved with Junior Achievement?

My first experience was at the Great American Teach-in with Kindergarten students.

Why do you volunteer for Junior Achievement?

I love working with kids.  They are our future and I think I can help them look at things with a different mindset.

What programs?

I’ve presented Career Success Skills and its predecessor for the past 14 years.

Why do you think it’s important to teach children about work readiness, financial literacy and entrepreneurship? 

Many of these subjects are not taught in the current academic curriculum and offer the students an opportunity to learn from experienced business people with real-life knowledge which will help them relate.

What benefits do you see for the students having a JA Volunteer come into their classroom? How do you know you are making an impact on the students?

Students get the benefit of business people sharing their experiences and knowledge within the platform of the program they teach. When the students become fully engaged and interact with both the volunteer and each other, it is obvious that the lessons have impact. Typically, a volunteer starts to see this near the completion of the program.

Any fun JA volunteer stories that you have to share about volunteering for Junior Achievement?

In the Career Success Skills program, students must build a building with a limited amount of index cards and paper clips. The imagination and competition to achieve the highest and sturdiest building is both fun and enlightening.  The whole class gets into this project as the different teams compete to be the best within the timeline they are given.  Talk about combining tactical skills with creativity and critical thinking!

What are the rewards of volunteering for Junior Achievement?  Your favorite part?

Watching the students start to really understand that learning can be fun and adventurous as well as seeing students become more engaged as the program progresses. I invite coworkers to come and perform mock interviews with all of the students and the students are scared, yet confident.  It is a wonder to see how well they actually do in the interviews.

What kind of rewards do you see for your company by allowing their employees to volunteer for Junior Achievement?  What do your employees say about volunteering for Junior Achievement? 

PSCU provides up to 17 hours of volunteer time for all employees. Our workforce has a high percentage of volunteers.  Every mentor or program presenter expresses the same point: they love the students willingness to learn and grow.  During our mock interviews, which we’ve done for over 12 years, employees approach the coordinator and want to participate.  This speaks volumes for the program and its impact to both students and volunteers.

My name is Bob Perini and I’ve worked at PSCU for over 30 years. I started with JA during American Teach-in and haven’t stopped for just over 20 years.  In 2003, Northeast High School started the NAF Academy of Finance and I’ve presented the Career Success Skill program from that time forward.