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December Volunteer Spotlight: Nancy Macomber

Each month we are putting the spotlight on a volunteer that has gone above and beyond in dedicating their time to JAEI!

Photo of Nancy Macomber

Image caption: Nancy Macomber

Tell us a little bit about yourself

  • I am retired from W.W. Grainger after working there for 25 years. I love summertime and spending time outside gardening. I love to read and am now volunteering at Head Start to read to the children there. I do make my own greeting cards and Christmas cards.

Tell us a little bit about your family

  • My husband Rick and I have been married 50 years this year. We were blessed with a son and a daughter. Our son sadly passed away in 2015. Our daughter has blessed us with three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. We have had many pets over the 50 years and we currently have a cat.

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

  • Chocolate is my favorite.

What is your dream vacation destination?

  • My dream vacation would be Egypt.

What is your favorite sports team?

  • I love watching baseball and football, no matter who is playing.

What is your favorite board game?

  • My favorite board game is Sequence.

What is your favorite book?

  • I don't have a favorite...I just love to read.

What is your favorite movie or TV show?

  • Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

In what ways do you volunteer with Junior Achievement?

  • I have taught several grade levels of the JA program in the past, but my favorite is the 7th grade program, Economics for Success.

Do you have a favorite JA Program?

  • JA Economics for Success® is my favorite. The program teaches what everyone needs to be aware of on a day to day basis to succeed. First of all, finding a job that you love with the income you need to provide food, clothing and shelter, is essential and then how to budget that income to also pay for entertainment, insurance and retirement. Being in 7th grade, the students are just started to understand these concepts and JA Economics for Success® helps reinforce them. Using fun games, like Insurance Bingo, made it fun to learn about insurance.

Why is it important to you to volunteer with JA?

  • Honestly, I didn't know how important it was until I started to volunteer. It was about that student who understood the importance of insurance, when I spoke about my office manager and his home being destroyed in the 2008 tornado. It was the student who understood giving back, when I spoke of being unemployed for 3 years and needing our local organizations to provide Christmas for my two small children. It was those students who realized you can have a job that becomes a career you can be proud of, when I spoke about my 25 years loving my job at Grainger. I guess with 70 years of living behind me, I can volunteer and help young people understand their future can be fun and successful.

What have you learned about yourself and/or about others through volunteering with JA?

  • I was very shy in high school and getting up in front of the class was terribly hard for me. Stepping into JA in front of middle school students has given me more confidence. It has always provided a great friendship with the Hoover Middle School teacher I worked with for most of my volunteer years, Sarah Dierks. We remain good friends, even though Sarah has since retired also.

Tell us about a time that was especially meaningful for you as a volunteer with JA.

  • I have volunteered with JA since 2007 and have had many moments I recall. Most have been being recognized by the students from that year's class, or a previous year's class, outside of the school. They may be with their parents at the store, and I am introduced as their JA teacher.

What has been the biggest surprise about volunteering with JA?

  • The biggest surprise has been how fun it is to be with young people. These days young people are challenged with a lot of things pulling them this way and that. I have found by the end of the 6 week program most of the students who "really didn't want to be there" have had fun and have learned something about budgeting, living within your means, and that they want to succeed.

If you could encourage someone else to volunteer with JA what would you say?

  • Just start...whatever class grade you think would be fun...just do it. Once you have seen the smiles, heard the questions they will ask you and realized you can give those questions a "real life answer," you will be hooked.

Anything else you want to share about volunteering with JA?

  • After the JA Economics for Success® program was revamped, I struggled with using the videos that were now a part of the program. I missed all of the fun games that we played to help reinforce the lessons. The program still remains my favorite, but I do wish the games would make a comeback.

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