April 23, 2012 – Dallas Texas
A special awards banquet provided the perfect opportunity for the local arm of a national non-profit organization, Junior Achievement – Dallas, to honor one of its brightest star volunteers. Eloy Gonzalez has been a member of the ACE Cash Express team for nearly 12 years and involved with JA for half of them.
Eloy’s efforts as a dedicated advocate for financial literacy earned him the most coveted award bestowed, Volunteer of the Year. When I asked how his tenure with Junior Achievement began years ago, he drew on his personal experiences as a child. “I grew up in a family environment where both mom and dad were teachers who placed high values on education. In 2006 ACE Cash express joined hands with JA. As soon as I read the email asking for volunteers, I knew this was for me. I wanted to be a part of the JA program to give back to the community and help students along the way. ACE started with an elementary school and later on also took on a high school program. Being a JA volunteer brings me personal satisfaction knowing that I’m out there and can make a difference in the student’s life.”
ACE has been a consistent supporter of non-profit organizations within the communities we serve. Our association with Junior Achievement is a natural fit because it allows employees to aid in the financial education of area students. One of the JA principles is promoting excellence in education so I asked Eloy to share what elementary kids experience in a typical session. “ACE employees visit with kindergarten to 2nd grade in the Fall then 3rd grade to the 5th grade in the Spring. The material is geared to the grade level of the students. Kindergarten’s curriculum is based off of reading stories to the students which promote concepts dealing with financial literacy. As you get into the 4th and 5th grade classes, the material will start covering advanced concepts such as how a city functions and what it takes to run a business. The JA material makes the learning experience fun with hands on applications.”
At times, volunteers are reminded exactly why they look forward to lending their time to worthy causes. Eloy shared what differences he’s made in the lives of young people through volunteerism. “JA provides a curriculum that offers the real life content children need. We are not born with knowledge, we acquire it. JA’s program is KEY to helping provide financial literacy knowledge; which otherwise students may have to learn the hard way.”
Eloy, a Sr. Database Analyst at ACE, relates his determination as a longtime volunteer to that required for Triathlon competitions. “Training for an Ironman or even a 5k takes commitment which some students have not yet experienced. I talk with the high school students and share my life story to try and open their eyes to the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle. I myself was a victim of obesity as I put on 50 pounds after I had joined the workforce. Most students do not have the knowledge it takes to implement a workout routine or healthy eating. I’m a firm believer in staying active and the positive affects it will have on one’s life.”
It was a pleasure interviewing Eloy Gonzalez for this article and his co-workers, associate volunteers and the community are proud to salute him. Once you get to know Eloy and his strong belief in making changes that matter, it’s easy to understand why Junior Achievement celebrated his efforts with a shining award of distinction.
Category: ACE Community