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JA Breakfast - A Success!

Junior Achievement of Abilene is excited to announce that the 5th Annual JA Breakfast was a huge success! As the culmination of our Inaugural Fall Campaign with both a crowdfunding and community-based need campaign, the JA Breakfast served well in the "clean up" position.

The goal for the Fall Campaign with all three of these components was $41,000. Thanks to the generous financial gifts from individual supporters, corporate supporters, and foundations, JA has raised $60,556 to date on the campaign! Please note that nearly $16,000 of this total is restricted to the local community-based need for which specifically raised: Sweetwater High School!

At the JA Breakfast, local elementary school students from Austin and Lee Elementary Schools started off the morning right by swarming breakfast attendents dressed as JA Heroes wielding signs declaring their career aspirations. Guests heard from 8th grade students from various AISD middle school currently receiving JA It's My Future (Clack, Mann, & Madison Middle Schools). These students shared how they could see a brighter future thanks to JA and their JA volunteers.

Finally, Cooper High School students Daisha Gemarino & Michael Thomlison introduced the keynote speaker of the event: Misti Collier of Abilene Banking Center (picture right). Misti shared the reason she is a JA volunteer: she grew up from a difficult background and chose to make her own future through hard work in the banking industry. This quote from Misti's speech shows exactly why guests left with a greater understanding of Junior Achievement: "I tell my students this information about me not so they will feel sorry for me, but to show them proof that they are in control of their future. THIS is JA! No matter where a student is currently, they have the POWER to chase their dreams! I believe sharing some of my story with them allows them to put their guard down and helps them see that I am like them in many ways. It makes us relatable and at that point they realize I am not just another boring speaker they have to listen to. I explain the importance of branding yourself and how to discover that…and that opportunity looks a lot like hard work and there is no such thing as a “free lunch”…ever!  JA isn’t judgmental…it speaks to all walks of life and can change the lives of our young people. JA loves diversity and is resourceful.  We NEED this program in our schools to motivate these students who don’t know what they are going to do in the future or where to begin."

Those of us at JA of Abilene couldn't be prouder of a campaign that exceeded our goals by $20,000 and reached $60,000! Thanks to each of you who made this possible!

8th grade students from Abilene ISD joined guests' tables at the JA Breakfast describing their JA experience. Pictured: Caezar Chavez from Mann Middle School

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