JA Volunteer Instills Hope for a Parent

Owatonna Alternative Learning Center 9-12 is located in Owatonna, Minn., and is one of only five high schools in Owatonna Public School District. It is an alternative school that serves 61 students in grades 9-12. LaChelle Williams, vice president of education and programs for Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest, shared the story from this unique school.

Last winter, JA of the Upper Midwest taught three classes at the Owatonna Alternative Learning Center. Alternative schools are public schools which offer nontraditional education for students whose needs cannot be met in a regular, special education or vocational school. While alternative schools are distinct from regular, special education, and vocational schools in their teaching approach or classroom environment, alternative schools can provide similar services and/or curriculum for students.

JA volunteer Richard Velasquez, a Federated Insurance employee, taught JA Personal Finance. One of the students in Richard's class has a mother who also works at Federated. She sent Richard the following email:

"I just wanted to drop a note your way to let you know that your recent visits to the Alternative Learning Center have had an impact on my son. He has had some challenging times over the past couple of years, in addition to struggling in school due to complications with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). "My son mentioned you to me on the way to school last week. He remembered your first and last name and said how "cool" your story was and that he felt that there may be some "hope" for kids like him to have a better future. "This is the first time in years I've heard any positive comment from him regarding school. Thank you so much for you efforts!"

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