Back in my years of volunteerism, I ran a Junior Achievement Program at the General Protestant Orphan’s Home. I had a company of about 20 members, ages 8-15, boys and girls, black and white. Beyond adoption, they were career orphans. I organized them into a manufacturing corporation, thought them the fundamentals of the American business system and we made some birdhouses, planters and piggybanks for sale. Weekends, we would go house to house selling in my neighborhood and end up with a nice lunch that my wife had prepared.
Each year, the Cincinnati Convention Center hosted a fair with companies from all over the region. Over 100 Junior Achievement mini-companies participated. With the help of about 5 of the children who going to rotate manning the booth, we displayed out products prior to the fair opening.
One of the members of our company tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Excuse me but we took a vote and we would like to have the sign changed. We don’t want anyone to purchase our products because we are orphans.”
I looked up and saw a sign that was hung over the booth. “Junior Achievement Company 26, General Protestant Orphans Home, Anderson Township, Ohio.” Every booth has a sign that was used to identify the individual company.
I got out a black magic marker and blanked out the name indicating we were from the Orphanage. I sometimes think of these kids. Some kept in touch for a number of years. They would be about 40-50 by now. I hope my time with these children helped them make intelligent choices in their lives and they didn’t have to look to society for sympathy for the cards they where dealt through no fault of theirs.