Paying it Forward – JA Student becomes JA Volunteer

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Christine PAtrick

After 22 years working with schools and business partners throughout Ireland more and more JA student alumni are entering the workforce. Many are putting the skills they learned through their JA programmes into practice while others have been inspired to follow a particular career path due to their JA business volunteer.

We are always delighted when we hear stories about our business volunteers meeting students with whom they delivered past JA programmes. When regular volunteer Christine O’Donoghue from Waterford Credit Union contacted us to say that she met a past student of hers – Patrick Bolger – we were happy to catch up with her.

Patrick was a student in St. Mary’s National School, Ballygunner, Waterford in 2004 when Sanofi Christine delivered the Our City 3rd class (8-9 years old) programme to his class. This community and enterprise-focused programme introduces students to the many elements that comprise the development of an urban area. The Our City programme has been modified over the years and is currently support by Core. Over the course of their five-module programme, students enjoy starting their own business, developing their own advertising campaigns and practising being successful entrepreneurs.

Patrick has great memories of the programme and even recalls that Christine always visited on a Tuesday – that was his JA Day! He also remembers that she kindly brought in donuts for everyone on the last day. Christine became to Patrick a fantastic role model for the world of work and the importance of education.

As a result of his positive experience as a JA student, Patrick – now an Engineer in Sanofi – was inspired to volunteer to teach a JA programme in his local area. Patrick chose to deliver the PMIEF supported Project Management Skills for Life programme with transition year students in De La Salle Waterford. He sees this as a great opportunity as a business volunteer to share what he has learned in his career path to date and pass on valuable skills that will be beneficial to students in their future academic lives and careers.

Christine has continued to deliver JA programmes and in recent years has focused on second level students. She has a specific interest in financial literacy programmes which help students to learn the importance of money management and how to make wise financial choices in their future.

We are delighted to have the continued support of both Waterford Credit Union and Sanofi and wish to thank Christine and Patrick for being such such great role models for the world of work.

Hopefully some of Patrick’s students will continue to pass it on by volunteering to teach their own JA programmes in the future.

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