JA Volunteers Make A Difference


Our programs connect volunteers with students in grades 3-12 as they learn about the three JA pillars: entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and work readiness. The secret ingredient to JA’s classroom programs is delivered through volunteers sharing their own personal and professional experiences to really bring content to life for students. This enables volunteers to fill the gap between a good education and the opportunities created by pursuing that higher education.





While in the classroom volunteers have the opportunity to impact a class full of students in a short period of time. Our volunteers inspire and prepare students for success in their futures and hopefully help them avoid common financial blunders in todays society. In-class programs, enable volunteers to further their professional development in leadership, and presentation skills.

If you are retired – or taking a step back, our programs provide an outlet for you to pass on your knowledge and skills you have refined over your working years.



Please note that JA Waterloo Region’s in-class volunteer opportunities have changed as program delivery methods have been adapted to align with updated health and safety protocols in schools due to COVID-19. While we can't send volunteers into schools right now, we recognize the valuable contribution volunteers make when sharing their experience and expertise with students and are working with schools and teachers to enable these exchanges to continue. 


Teachers will choose the program delivery method best suited for their class (self-directed online, teacher-led online or teacher-led in class) and will have the opportunity to request a virtual volunteer drop in, where volunteers can answer student questions and provide additional real-world experience to reinforce program topics. 


Please register indicating your interest and a JA Program Manager will be in contact to provide additional information about this new volunteer process as opportunities become available. We appreciate your patience and cooperation as we navigate these uncertain times.





For any inquiries about volunteer opportunities please contact info@jawr.ca

In-Class Volunteer Spotlight 

Keith Oosthoek, Retired Ombudsman, RBC Financial



Keith has been a volunteer with Junior Achievement since 1972, helping students learn the important lessons of financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship. Over the course of his 45 years, Mr. Keith, as the students call him, has been an active volunteer in both company program and in-school programs. Young people in Hamilton, Toronto, Barrie, Guelph, Wellington County, and Waterloo Region have benefited from the volunteer efforts of Mr. Keith.


Since his retirement from RBC in 2007 (after 38 years of service) Keith has made JA a top priority in his schedule by regularly providing programs to local students. For the 2017/2018 school year Keith delivered 48 JA programs, totaling over 300 hours of community service and reaching 1200+ students in Waterloo & Wellington Region. This high level of commitment has been a steady pace since his retirement and we estimate he has delivered at least 250 programs in that time.


At a time in his life when he could be traveling the world, playing endless rounds of golf or simply relaxing at home, Keith chooses to visit our local classrooms and help shape our future leaders. Keith puts his own twist on our JA program materials by spending additional time to ensure he is bringing current examples and real stories into the classroom. Keith has an amazing ability to relate to the youth he visits and has such a great personality that teachers specifically ask for him back year after year. He treats every classroom visit as an opportunity to inspire and encourage students to think about what it would be like to run a business, to prepare for post-secondary and to learn crucial financial skills that will serve them well later in life. In our opinion, the greatest impact of Keith’s volunteer efforts is that they have the ability to open the door for dialogue, between students and parents, about these key topics that evening. This means that his impact spreads wider than the walls of a classroom and becomes a message students are excited to share.


Aside from delivering programs, Keith makes every effort to help our charter with volunteer training. Often Keith has taken new volunteers into the classroom with him to ensure they feel supported with their first visit. Last year when our Charter partnered with our local Family and Children Services organization to teach financial literacy to youth in care, he stepped up to support the unique program delivery. Keith is trained in every program that we offer at JAWR and is always willing to take on a new challenge. When he heard about our pilot of Personal Finance, he immediately volunteered himself for program delivery, as he saw the importance and need for these lessons in high school classrooms. On occasion we have received emails from Keith telling us his schedule is too empty and he wants more JA classes! For the first time in his 45 years with JA, Keith recently had to take his very first sick day; it crushed him to know that he had to miss an opportunity to educate students. He makes an effort to connect with all of his teachers before his visits and is always open to accommodating varying classroom or student needs.


As a Charter we cannot thank Keith enough for all his dedication and support!