Reaching for the Stars

img_3157-400x600.jpgI had the opportunity to discover a local insurance agent’s passion for astronomy.  We had just wrapped-up our Junior Achievement board meeting when we were invited to enter into Gary’s other world.  He had built a specially designed observatory.  With its high-tech computer system it can track the planets and stars so you can quickly find them in the night sky.

Frankly, I have not been one to spend much time focusing on the night sky but I could hear the passion in Gary’s voice as he shared many stories of his discoveries.  It was refreshing to see someone love something so different from their day job.

So what is your passion?  It has often been said that the greatest discoveries, accomplishments, and contributions to society have come from those who were passionate about their cause. 

Beyond my passion for the wine industry is giving our local youth an insight into their future through Junior Achievement.  This powerful economic education is delivered by volunteers from the business community.  I have volunteered in the classroom for the past 12 years helping elementary, middle and high school kids understand how they can control their financial future with proper choices. 

Our current economic crisis can be traced to greed at all levels including consumers who did not understand the impact of their decisions of buying what they could not afford.  No matter how someone spins it, very few of us can afford what we want.  Our responsibility is recognize that what we want and need are not always the same.  JA teaches the fundamentals of economics while delivering the message of how important an education is to their future.   We start in Kindergarten and continue until they graduate from high school.  Each step along the way our volunteers share their real world experiences while delivering the the lessons with hands-on activities to reinforce the ideas being shared.  Learning the importance of communities, role of local government, manufacturing processes, advertising, marketing, role and repsonsibility of employees, doing business domestically and globally, managing credit, avoiding identity theft, saving, best uses of insurance and the list goes on…The point being JA delivers real life skills thanks to our passionate volunteers.

Here in Napa County we are on-track to reach over 5,500 students this school year.  Unfortunately their are over 17,000 students here.   So that means there is plenty of work ahead.   My vision is to reach every child from K-12th grade each year with JA education.  That is big a goal but my passion is strong and I know we will get there.  It won’t be next year or 5 years from now.   So I take it one student at a time because I know within each child there lies a passion to do something I just want to make sure they get a chance to find it and then reach for it.  Kids are like those distant stars that are just a twinkle in the sky until you look through a telescope and discover there is so much more.

Until next time, find your passion.

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