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Empower a Young Person to Dream

This post is written by JA of Abilene Executive Director, Evan Simmons,  and was originally published on September 3, 2015. It has been updated as of January 26, 2016.

People often ask me “what is Junior Achievement?” My quick response is that Junior Achievement (JA) is a non-profit organization seeking to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy through volunteer delivered financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and work readiness education programs.

What I hope people do not hear is that I am an expert in teaching teens how to balance a check book. What I hope they catch is that JA is about experienced business professionals who spend their time sharing their expertise and experiences inspiring young people (Kindergarten through 12th grade students) to dream about their own futures. Junior Achievement is about giving knowledge and skills young people need today to succeed tomorrow. But it’s also about opening an entire world of possibilities and potential that students may not have known was available! 

Entrepreneur Maricel Johns said this about her experience after volunteering with JA for her first time teaching JA Our Families® with a first grade class: “I ran into one of the first graders and her mom at a retail store later that evening. Her mother told me that she would not stop talking about the lessons that I taught her that day. It was fulfilling to see that I had an impact in her life.” Later, Maricel volunteered came back, this time in a fourth grade classroom, teaching JA Our Region®. She said she “ … learned that children – no matter their age – can get excited to learn about financial literacy.” A highlight for her is when “one student brought me a flower after recess - so sweet!” 

Another first time JA volunteer – Dean Pye, a Licensed Marriage Family Therapy Associate – said, “I loved the experience of interacting with the students. Their eagerness to learn and creative spirits were apparent as soon as they walked in the room. I was impressed by how much they wanted to learn about business concepts and how quickly they grasped them. I remember thinking how cool it would have been to have received the JA It’s My Business® program when I was in the sixth grade.”

Maggie Branch, Jim Ned High School graduate (2015) and JA scholarship recipient attending Texas A&M University, said this about her JA Career Success® volunteer – Terrie Noland of Tuscola, TX: “Terrie was excited about what she taught us, always had some creative activity that helped to add perspective to the lesson she was teaching, and showed us how to properly speak in an interview, debate effectively, and stand up for what we believe in. My whole class was always excited to see what we would be doing next.

JA is about inspiring people to dream about what they can become. JA is about empowering them to create a better future. Empower the future today by becoming a JA volunteer – CLICK THIS LINK. It's easy for you. It's life changing for them.

Spring 2015 JA Volunteer Needs:

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  • "Junior Achievement has given me a sense of what adults go through with budget issues."

    -Junior Achievement Student
  • "Junior Achievement reinforced concepts for me to remember later in life."

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  • "I thought the experience was amazing. The presentation was unlike anything I've seen."

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  • "I liked how the Junior Achievement volunteer explained his job to us."

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