Softball players taking the field, giving back to community

4/7/2008 - By: Adrienne Goetz

Katie Stith and Vanessa Briones, two of the University’s top softball players, are playing on a new ballfield this semester.

As apart of a Management 430 class, in the College of Business, they are volunteering in third grade classrooms at Rollan Melton Elementary School and Peavine Elementary in Reno. The class this semester is geared towards leadership.

“I thought it would be a great opportunity to give back to the community,” said Briones, a senior outfielder from Ontario, Calif. “I want to be an influence to these children.”

Stith and Briones will graduate in 2009 with degrees in business management. Both will be teaching elementary students basic lessons relevant to the economy and business.

Their curriculum is called “Our City.” The curriculum examines various aspects of how cities operate, including industries and the economy.

The first lesson examines city planning and the role of a city planner related to zoning with urban limits. The second lesson cover show a city is built. It also demonstrates how construction businesses play an important role, and how these businesses contribute to a city’s economy. The third lesson reveals the role of consumers and producers related to the restaurant industry. The fourth lesson covers the importance of media and how crucial it is to intercity communication. The final lesson talks about banking.

These lesson plans were created through the Junior Achievement program. The five, one-hour lessons will take place at the volunteer sites.

“This is extra credit for my class,” Stith, a senior co-captain of the University’s softball team from Chino Hills, Calif., said. “If I had known that Junior Achievement was low on volunteers I would have definitely volunteered my time.”

Bret Simmons, the professor of the class, offers community service as a way for students to gain extra credit. Simmons does not pick volunteer opportunities for his students. They are free to select any 10-hour volunteer opportunities in the community they like. For students not knowing where to begin, Simmons offers them the opportunity to get involved with Junior Achievement.

Simmons’ class is geared towards selected behavioral influences affecting decision making; organizational structure, including the power of organizing and politics; and change, development and creativity in the business world.

“Leadership is a privilege,” Simmons said. “It’s an act of service to the students that Katie and Vanessa have been given the opportunity to lead. The best leaders see themselves as a resource, helping others to achieve individual and organizational goals.”

Through the extra credit assignment Simmons hopes to teach his students to give back to their community.

“Both Katie and Vanessa are rising to the occasion and have stepped into their roles with high hopes,” Simmons said.

“I am hoping to be able to teach the kids something they don’t already know,” Stith said. “I hope to see how appreciative they are to have someone new in the classroom.”

“I look forward to opening the minds of the third graders,” Briones said. “I want them to have a basic understanding of economics and business within their community and understand how they can apply this knowledge to their lives. I hope they will have fun with my lesson plans. I want to motivate them to learn.”

Simmons, who is on the board of directors for Junior Achievement, has seen the impact that comes from the program and the affect it has on both the volunteers and the students.

“Fred Jackalot, one of the students in my class this semester, is also volunteering with Junior Achievement,” Simmons said. “Fred was involved with Junior Achievement as a high school student and he told my class that his involvement helped him realize what career path he wanted to pursue as a college student. The impact of the program affects all of the students, third graders or college students. It’s an excellent program.”


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