“My background is in Sales and Marketing and I decided to switch careers and began teaching students about careers 10 years ago,” Blanchard said. “The class (I teach) has changed names many times over the years – Investigating Careers, Career Connections, Exploring Careers and starting this fall it will be called College & Career Readiness. The goal is the same though – to introduce our eighth-grade students to all the different career and education options available to them and how their interests and skills can match with a career that they will someday enjoy and be successful in.”
Junior Achievement is the nation's largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their futures, and make smart academic and economic choices, according to the group’s website. Its work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy programs are conducted by volunteers, like Blanchard.
In addition to taking her eighth-grade students to Junior Achievement Inspire (job awareness) fairs over the past few years, Blanchard this past year lined up guest speakers to come to her classroom on a regular basis to talk about careers. It grew from there into a program called Your Career, Your Future.
“It was so well received by the students that in the spring semester we partnered with INEOS and IBM to present a program called It’s My Future with guest speakers once a week for five weeks,“ Blanchard said.
In notifying Blanchard that she had been chosen for Junior Achievement’s high honor, officials also told her that she was selected among numerous nominations from across the Greater Houston area. But Blanchard is taking it all in stride.
“I am very grateful and surprised to receive this honor because I was just doing what I could to help our kids see the potential they have for their future,” Blanchard said. “Junior Achievement helped me give them the tools and vision they needed.”
Blanchard was honored July 25 at Junior Achievement’s annual board of directors meeting.