JA In The News | Junior Achievement of Central Maryland

JA is Really Newsworthy!

Update from JA

As the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to evolve, our top priority is the safety and well-being of our students, volunteers, corporate partners, staff and the communities we serve.

Upon guidance from Governor Larry Hogan and State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Karen Salmon, Maryland public schools will be closed from Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 27. Therefore, Junior Achievement is suspending all programming and events during this time.

As part of JA’s standard operating procedures, a janitorial company comes through our building every night to clean and disinfect all common areas, the restrooms, shared areas/offices, door knobs, door handles as well as JA BizTown. Additionally, we also provide community hand sanitizers throughout our lobby, office, and in JA BizTown. We are continuing to take all necessary precautions to ensure our facility is ready to go when programming resumes.

This is an evolving situation and we will re-evaluate upcoming programs and events after March 27 as necessary in coordination with our local school systems. We will send updates as more information becomes available. 

We appreciate your patience and flexibility during this time.

As a reminder, people can protect themselves against respiratory viruses, according to the Maryland Department of Health, by taking the following precautions:

  • Wash your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or soap & water.
  • Cover your mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home from work or school.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Practice good health habits.

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JA Plans to Move to New Headquarters Building, Doubling its Space

Junior Achievement of Central Maryland Inc. (JA), is excited to announce that a long-awaited vision is now coming to fruition. In summer of 2020, we will open a new headquarters and program facilitiy that will take experiential learning to the next level for the youth of Baltimore. 

Located at 1725 Twin Springs Road, the facility will more than double JA's current space, enabling the organization to unveil the 28,800 square-foot JA Youth Workforce and Innovation Center, an interactive learning space for early workforce development.

“This is a game-changer for our organization, our community, and for thousands of students in our region who deserve real-world experiences that prepare them for the future,” said Jennifer Bodensiek, President & CEO of Junior Achievement of Central Maryland. “The JA Youth Workforce and Innovation Center will allow us to enhance our visibility and impact more youth with experiential programming that fuels the workforce pipeline and ensures that area youth grow into career-ready, financially responsible, and entrepreneurially minded citizens. We are grateful to our partners for their sponsorship and volunteer support, and we look forward to engaging additional organizations as we bring this vision to life.”

Photo courtesy of Coyle StudiosThe new center enables JA to expand popular programs, such JA BizTown, where 4th-6th graders take on the role of an employee and run a simulated economy. For middle and high schoolers, JA Finance Park presents students with a career, family, and salary scenario, then allows them take on the role of consumer to make wise budgeting decisions. Middle and high school students will also have the opportunity to explore Maryland’s in-demand careers in a new career center, as well as start and run their own businesses in an entrepreneurship cafe. In addition, the center will offer a multi-use space to foster community, business and education partnerships. In total, the facility will serve 30,000 students—plus more than 5,000 volunteers and community members—annually.

Adrienne Jones, Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates, recognizes the importance of making JA programming more inclusive.

“Junior Achievement’s new regional center in Lansdowne represents a major step in our work to ensure that every student in Maryland is college and career ready,” Del. Jones explained. “JA’s programming offers a holistic approach to education and equips students with practical life skills that they will use well into adulthood, and I’m thrilled that they will have a new home in Baltimore County.”

Merritt Construction Services, the construction division of Merritt Companies, began construction on the base building in November and expects to begin the interior build-out in mid-March. JA plans to move from its current Owings Mills location, which is owned and operated by Merritt Properties, to the organization’s new headquarters in summer 2020, relocating roughly 20 employees. Merritt is a long-time supporter of JA, and the future headquarters is part of Merritt Properties’ Beltway Business Park. Clockwork Architecture + Design has been tapped to do the architectural work.

A “groundbreaking” to celebrate the interior buildout of the JA space is planned for the spring.
 
Thanks to our sponsors who have already signed on for this transformational project. Lead capital project partners include: Allegis Group, France-Merrick Foundation, Howard Bank, Marion I. & Henry J. Knott Foundation, M&T Bank, Stanley Black & Decker, State of Maryland, Truist Foundation, Transamerica, and the T. Rowe Price Foundation. Program partners in the new center include: Aerotek, Allstate Foundation, Baltimore County Public Library, Bank of America, Chick-fil-A Foundation, First Financial Federal Credit Union, GEICO, Institute of Museum and Library Services, Maryland Association of Certified Public Accountants, Maryland MEP, Maryland State Library, Merritt Properties, Northrop Grumman, Toyota Financial Services, Travelers, Wells Fargo, and Whiting-Turner. JA is still seeking additional program and capital support for the project.
 

“On any given day there could be up to 300 kids in the center participating in real-world career readiness, financial education, and entrepreneurship programs,” said Tom Sadowski, Vice Chancellor of Economic Development for the University System of Maryland and Chair of Junior Achievement of Central Maryland’s board of directors. “I’ve observed JA programs first-hand, and I’ve seen the lightbulb go off – the inspiration in the students’ eyes when all of a sudden, it clicks. They understand the potential for their future. Together with our JA partners, we are giving our education system and key industries the missing piece they need to build a solid foundation that helps Maryland’s economy grow and succeed into the future—and we are doing it at scale so every student has the opportunity to benefit from these experiences.”

JA’s new facility is centrally located off Washington Boulevard and provides access off I-95 and I-695. It is also in close proximity to the city and county line and several miles from UMBC and BWI, making it an ideal regional location to serve the youth in the Baltimore region and throughout Central Maryland. 

This past school year, JA served more than 13,000 students in Baltimore City and over 8,000 in Baltimore County. Both school systems plan to expand student impact with the opening of the new center.

“Our system-wide partnership with Junior Achievement over the past three years has allowed us to infuse classroom learning with hands-on experiences that connect students to the realities of work, personal finance, and entrepreneurship,” said Dr. Sonja Brookins Santelises, CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools. “Last year alone, JA programs reached more than 92 percent of our 5th graders, 82 percent of our schools, and more than 13,000 total Baltimore City Schools students. The new center will expand this impact, allowing all of our 5th and 7th graders to connect with caring community members through meaningful experiential learning opportunities.”

Dr. Darryl Williams, Superintendent for Baltimore County Public Schools, recently championed JA Inspire, an interactive career exploration experience that connected all 8,000+ Baltimore County 8th graders to more than 60 area employers.

“We are proud to offer families in Baltimore County Public Schools even more opportunity through our growing relationship with Junior Achievement,” said Dr. Williams. “I have seen firsthand how JA BizTown and JA Finance Park spark new learning for our youngsters and support the development of both knowledge and skills for career and college success.”

The enthusiasm around this initiative, said Bodensiek, is that Junior Achievement’s results speak for themselves. Statistics gathered nationally by the non-profit show that JA students are 30 percent more likely to graduate from college than students in the general population and 67 percent are more likely to earn an advanced degree. JA students not only secure employment at a higher rate than their peers, but they earn 20 percent more in salary.

“We’ve seen success with scalable JA initiatives in Montgomery and Prince George’s County, and it is essential to bring these opportunities to the youth of Baltimore,” adds Kelly Schulz, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Commerce. “Through this center, our region’s youth will gain the financial education and workforce readiness skills they need to thrive. It is an investment not only in our students, but an investment in the future success and competitiveness of our state.”

Monitoring & Preparing for Coronavirus at JA

We know that many of our Junior Achievement of Central Maryland (JA) stakeholders including school and family partners, volunteers, event participants, corporate partners, are concerned about the uncertainty created by COVID-19. The health and well-being of our JA stakeholders are top of mind.

Our staff is closely monitoring the situation on a case-by-case basis and is working closely with school, community, and business partners to determine how to proceed with ongoing programming and events. If any changes occur, we will notify all participants as soon as possible.

Ultimately, we are treating this situation as we would with any other event that could impact our work including natural disasters, weather-related incidents and threats to safety.

In an effort to provide as much information as possible to address your concerns or questions, as part of JA’s standard operating procedures, a janitorial company comes through our building every night to clean and disinfect all common areas including door handles, restrooms, and other shared areas. We also provide community hand sanitizers in our lobby and throughout JA BizTown.

According to the Maryland Department of Health, people can protect themselves against respiratory viruses by taking the following precautions:

  • Wash your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or soap & water.
  • Cover your mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home from work or school.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Practice good health habits.

We recognize that this is an evolving situation that is constantly being reassessed. We will continue to stay in close, collaborative contact with our health department partners and will share additional information as needed and available to us.

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CLA Makes an Investment in JA Kids!

Veteran volunteer Phillip Del Bello, Manager, Specialized Advisory Services at CliftonLarsonAllen LLP (CLA) has seen the impact of his volunteering efforts over the years.

“Each time I’ve volunteered at JA BizTown it’s been a fun experience with new students who are entering the program for the first time,” said Del Bello.

Year after year, Del Bello coordinates a group of CLA associates to join him to help empower JA students to thrive in their businesses at JA BizTown. Recently, Phil and 14 of his colleagues assisted Tunbridge Public Charter School students on their JA BizTown visit day.

“It’s great to see the students’ excitement around this program and their engagement toward their tasks and responsibilities as an employee and citizen,” added Del Bello. “They are truly invested in their work and take it very seriously.”

For some Tunbridge students the focus was on their internal bookkeeping where others were more concerned about their personal finances.

“I learned that businesses have a lot of bills to pay. It was really hard to pay off the loan,” said a Tunbridge student.

“My favorite part of JA BizTown was using the money I earned to purchase items around town,” said another Tunbridge student.

Del Bello has seen a variety of students come through the experience – many who begin the day as shy, hesitant kids and end the day as confident, collaborative, financially responsible leaders. It’s one of the reasons Del Bello nominated Junior Achievement (JA) for the CLA Foundation grant. Ultimately, the CLA Foundation selected Junior Achievement as a grantee.

The CLA Foundation has granted more than $1.7 million to advance career opportunities in communities across the nation and Del Bello felt JA “matched perfectly” with the foundation’s mission to promote and support diverse individuals and organizations by connecting networks, advancing work readiness, and creating career opportunities.

“Not only is JA helping prepare kids for the future, but they are also building the entrepreneurial spirit at a young age,” said Del Bello. “I thought this directly aligns with the Foundation’s mission.”

Del Bello wasn’t the only CLA associate who thought highly of their volunteer experience. First-time volunteers and returners were also impressed.

“It’s great to see kids apply important financial concepts at a young age. By the end of the day, my students knew how to run a business, write and cash a check, and balance their checkbook,” said Garrett Brenk.

“I was surprised at how serious the kids took their jobs and really thought about how their roles impact the business,” said Kimberly MacKenzie.

For returning JA volunteer Ryan Fiore, the experience was a way to give back.

“I love that I’m able to see this come full circle. Having been a JA BizTown student, I had a volunteer who helped me back then and now, I get to pay that forward to a new group of students,” said Fiore. “I was a CFO and I think that definitely influenced me. I got a glimpse of what a financial professional would do, and it got me thinking about it at a younger age than most.”

While the experience had a profound impact on Fiore, it may have done the same for a Tunbridge student.

“I was the CFO of Zurich Insurance and I think this is something I could do in the future. We got really close to paying off our business loan and I really enjoyed a lot of the tasks I had today,” said a Tunbridge student.

On behalf of JA, we’d like to especially thank our volunteer extraordinaire Phillip Del Bello, the entire team at CLA and the CLA Foundation for their generous support of JA kids!

From the Marketing Intern's Perspective

While internships are designed to give students like me hands-on experience in the field, I had no idea what to expect as the marketing intern other than being stuck working behind a desk, but at JA that was not the case. This internship exceeded my expectations and has taught me skills that will last a lifetime.

I knew I had to jump at the opportunity to work at JA because it’s a nonprofit organization that focuses on empowering K-12 students through money, careers and business start-ups. These are all things that mean a lot to me especially being the oldest in my family and having seven younger siblings who look up to me for career and financial advice. Additionally, I love how JA incorporates mentors and volunteers. It really speaks to me as an active mentor in TU’s Greek Ambassadors Mentorship Program.

During my time as the JA marketing intern, I oversaw marketing projects, managed various components of the website, and created web and social media content. I learned how to be a strategic marketer, strengthen my writing for various audiences, and really experience what it is like to work in a marketing department.

I didn’t realize all the different components that make up what a marketing professional does but watching how hard my mentor [JA Marketing Director Katie Ballance] works to make sure JA has the best marketing is inspiring. Throughout this experience, Katie has shown me patience and kindness and I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

While interning, I even got the chance to be a part of JA’s largest event in the organization’s history called JA Inspire. I worked with the multimedia team to ensure we captured the event to its full potential. It was exciting to see JA students in action and be able to interview them during the experience.

This semester has taught me a lot about myself, but I’m most proud of the relationships I developed during my journey at JA. Being able to work closely with many members of the JA team has opened my eyes to the many different roles it takes to run an efficient organization.

I walked into JA of Central Maryland with limited marketing experience and I’m leaving with useful skills that I can take with me for years to come. While my next “official” steps after graduation are still in progress, I know that the future holds an endless amount of opportunities thanks to my time at JA and for that, I am eternally grateful.

If you or someone you know is looking for a great internship in marketing and communications, education and outreach, or development and special events, click here for more information.

Anastasia Delices is a marketing intern at JA of Central Maryland. She is a communications major at Towson University who will graduate with her BA in May 2020. Her primary focus within her major is marketing.

Maryland “Royalty” Returns to JA BizTown

Ten years ago young Caitlyn Stupi stepped into the small city of JA BizTown where she learned the fundamentals of financial education and workforce preparation. However, what she did not know is that later she would be returning to JA -- this time as Miss Maryland.

“Walking through these doors was a ‘wow’ moment. The last time I was here was in the 4th grade,” Caitlyn recalls. “I was a young CFO in my JA BizTown business, and I remember how much bigger it felt because I was smaller. It’s still so impressive that they’re able to create a micro-economy for the kids to experience.”

Despite her busy schedule, Caitlyn found time to come back and help our future leaders. Just this year she received her bachelor’s degree in graphic arts from Liberty University, where she graduated with honors. Later that summer Caitlyn was also crowned Miss Maryland.
 

“Crazy is the only way to describe it. I’m honestly still waiting for it to set in. But it's kind of funny how the realm of financial literacy and my involvement in the Miss America organization overlap because this is an investment in my future with being able to earn scholarships,” said Caitlyn.

Having had such an impactful experience from JA BizTown, Caitlyn continues to promote youth financial literacy by choosing this as her cause of choice for Miss America’s Social Impact Initiative. “Junior Achievement was one of the major influences that instilled my value of financial responsibility. It fueled my desire to help educate our next generation!”

Not only does our crowned state representative understand the value of this social justice: she also understands the importance of volunteering. During her return visit to JA BizTown, with a smile from ear to ear, Caitlyn answered questions from excited students who worked in the Wells Fargo Community Newspaper. “JA is one of the experiences I can say that actually taught me about the real world,” she says. “It’s so cool to be back and help the kids understand the real world themselves.”

We wish Caitlyn the best of luck in the Miss America pageant! Be sure to tune in December 19th on NBC.

Anastasia Delices is a marketing intern at JA of Central Maryland. She is a communications major at Towson University who will graduate with her BA in May 2020. Her primary focus within her major is marketing.

Two Stevenson University Scholars Make Volunteering a Priority

While college can place many demands on a student’s schedule, two Stevenson University students are finding ways to make volunteering at Junior Achievement a fun priority. Kelsey David and Cassidy Kling are both freshman nursing majors at Stevenson University in the Service Scholars program.

Service Scholars is a comprehensive initiative that offers participants the opportunity to extend their civic engagement in the community, reflect upon possibilities for personal and social change, and develop the necessary skills to succeed in the classroom and, eventually, the workforce.

Kelsey and Cassidy were both interested in a volunteer experience with hands-on learning while supporting local kids.
 

"When I was looking at my options, I knew that I didn’t want to be behind a desk. JA allows me to interact with fifth graders and actually make a difference,” said Kelsey.

Since volunteering at JA, Kelsey hasn’t been at a desk, but rather in the center of JA BizTown, where she supports the staff by answering questions for students and volunteers throughout the dynamic work readiness experience.

While Cassidy has volunteered in a business or two in JA BizTown, she is usually working with JA’s development team assisting with upcoming events or contacting JA partners.

“I definitely think all kids should have Junior Achievement programs because it teaches them things like how to write a check, how to save money and how to invest in college. No one ever had anything like this at the schools I attended and, during my senior year of high school, a lot of the seniors didn’t have any of these skills that are being taught here at such a young age,” said Cassidy.

You, too, can make a difference just like Kelsey and Cassidy! Click here to volunteer your time at JA BizTown.

Anastasia Delices is a marketing intern at JA of Central Maryland. She is a communications major at Towson University who will graduate with her BA in May 2020. Her primary focus within her major is marketing.

Prepare for JA Finance Park! Teacher Training and Material Request Information Now Available

As teachers prepare for the 2019-2020 school year, it's also time to get your students up and running on JA Finance Park Virtual.

For classroom teachers who will be teaching the JA Finance Park Virtual curriculum and leading their students through the virtual simulation during the upcoming school year, we've made this go-to-guide for everything educators need to know.

If you are a NEW TEACHER to JA Finance Park Virtual you must...

  1. Watch the JA Finance Park Virtual Teacher Training Webinar below OR attend in-person JA Finance Park Virtual training through your school/district. 
  2. Complete JA Finance Park Virtual Program Registration and Material Request Form below.
  3. Once you have completed steps 1 and 2 above, confirm your school's participation by contacting JA Capstone Director Sam Hodapp here

If you have PREVIOUSLY TRAINED to implement JA Finance Park Virtual you must...

  1. Complete JA Finance Park Virtual Program Registration and Material Request Form below.
  2. Once you have completed step 1, confirm your school's participation by contacting JA Capstone Director Sam Hodapp here

JA Finance Park Virtual Teacher Training Webinar

JA Finance Park Virtual Program Registration and Material Request Form

In order to participate in JA Finance Park Virtual, you will need specific classroom materials and curriculum to be successful in implementation. 

Materials for JA Finance Park Virtual include:

  • JA Finance Park Teacher Curriculum
  • JA Finance Park  Student Workbooks (one per student)

To complete the JA Finance Park Virtual Program Registration and Material Request Form, click here.

From all of us at JA, we are looking forward to another successful year of JA Finance Park Virtual and appreciate all that you do as an educator to make this program a success for your students. At any time, if you have questions, need additional support or guidance, contact Sam for further assistance.

Gear Up for JA BizTown! Teacher Training and Material Request Information Available Now

As teachers prepare for the 2019-2020 school year, it's also time to gear up for students' JA BizTown visit. 

For classroom teachers who will be teaching the JA BizTown curriculum and bringing their classes to the JA BizTown simulation during the upcoming school year, we've made this handy guide for everything educators need to know.

If you are a NEW TEACHER to JA BizTown you must...

  1. Watch the JA BizTown Teacher Training Webinar below OR attend in-person JA BizTown training through your school/district. 
  2. Complete JA BizTown Program Material Request Form below.
  3. Once you have completed steps 1 and 2 above, confirm your school's participation and simulation visit date by contacting JA BizTown Program Manager Bristal McAlister here

If you have PREVIOUSLY TRAINED to implement JA BizTown you must...

  1. Complete JA BizTown Program Material Request Form below.
  2. Once you have completed step 1, confirm your school's participation and simulation visit date by contacting JA BizTown Program Manager Bristal McAlister here

JA BizTown Teacher Training Webinar

 

JA BizTown Program Materials Request Form

In order to participate in JA BizTown, you will need specific classroom materials and curriculum to be successful for your visit day. 

Materials for JA BizTown include:

  • JA BizTown Teacher Curriculum
  • JA BizTown Student Citizen Guides and checkbooks (one per student)
  • JA BizTown Classroom Kit (one for school)

To complete the JA BizTown Program Material Request Form, click here.

 

From all of us at JA, we are looking forward to another successful year of JA BizTown and appreciate all that you do as an educator to make this program a success for your students. At any time, if you have questions, need additional support or guidance, contact Bristal at 410-753-3292 for assistance.

JA Welcomes Back Lene McCollum

JA is thrilled to welcome back Lene McCollum to our team!

Lene will serve as the first-ever Director of Partner Engagement. She will focus on engaging existing JA partners and bringing new partner groups to the organization. Additionally, Lene will ensure JA's volunteer experience is unmatched!

Many educators, volunteers and community partners may recall her previous role with JA as the Regional Manager for Baltimore County and outlying counties. She was responsible for maintaining existing school system relationships and ensuring program quality in her regions. In this role, she reached over 10,000 students and hundreds of volunteers.
 

Lene’s passion for the nonprofit sector is evident. Before joining JA, she worked with Blossoms of Hope in Howard County. Most recently, she served as an Associate Director with Stringfellow Management Group, where she managed two non-profit professional organizations with a focus on certification, membership and conference planning.

Lene is looking forward to resuming her fulfilling work with JA in her new position.

“I am most excited to meet new people and catch up with some old friends. The relationships made here are definitely one of the most rewarding aspects of the job,” she says.

If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering with JA, drop Lene a message here.

Kristy Memphis is currently a marketing intern at JA of Central Maryland. She is a Communication, Technology, and Culture major at Bridgewater College, and a Political Science minor. She will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in May 2020.

From the Golf Course to the Bowling Alley

As Team CohnReznick prepared for their annual JA Bowl-a-Thon, the long-time supporters took to the golf course first to make sure their fundraising efforts were on par.

A week before their JA Bowl-a-Thon date, about 50 golfers hit the green in support of JA kids at Greystone Golf Course.

“The golf outing has historically been good for employee morale and encouraging camaraderie amongst our fellow co-workers all the while supporting one of our charity partners,” said John Malek, Audit Senior Associate at CohnReznick.

Malek, who led the golf outing, is no stranger to JA.

“I have supported Junior Achievement through the annual JA Bowl-a-Thon since I started at CohnReznick over 5 years ago,” added Malek. “I thought it was a great opportunity to combine the two, selecting JA as this year’s charity recipient of the proceeds.”

This internal outing raised about $2,000, which CohnReznick employees added to their overall JA Bowl-a-Thon fundraising of over $4,300, which garnered them the “Top Fundraiser” winner from their event.

Now, CohnReznick can proudly display their trophy for all to see!

Kristy Memphis is currently a marketing intern at JA of Central Maryland. She is a Communication, Technology, and Culture major at Bridgewater College, and a Political Science minor. She will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in May 2020.

JA Summer Camper Turns JA Leader

At nine years old, Dontae Smith was an eager summer camper attending JA SUPER Summer Camp for the very first time.

“My school did not participate in JA BizTown, so camp was my only chance to experience it,” said Smith.

“If I would not have come to JA BizTown on my own, I would not have learned how to write a check or know what a CEO or a CFO is because they didn’t teach that kind of stuff at school,” he added.

Now, Dontae is eighteen years old and a third-year camp counselor – a very different experience from being a camper – he will tell you.

“It’s different because I have a more active role in the camp process. I get to see more aspects of JA BizTown and really understand what goes into the sessions. This leadership role has allowed me to be more involved in the learning process of it all,” said Smith.

As a camp counselor, Dontae is excited to impart all the things he learned during his time at JA BizTown to the new campers.

“I learned about business management, using a checkbook, healthy investments, financial literacy, leadership, communication skills, problem solving, and working under pressure for a specific goal,” said Smith.

JA not only helped Dontae gain stronger financial skills, but he also realized his dreams of owning a business. This fall, he is headed to Towson University to major in Criminal Justice, inspired by his father’s career as a police officer, but plans to minor in Business Administration with the hopes of one day owning his own restaurant. He feels confident to take on this challenge thanks to his time at camp.

His experience as a camper, volunteer and now counselor has convinced him that everyone should be part of Junior Achievement if given the chance.

“JA BizTown is not just fun; it teaches a lot of useable skills that are needed later in life, and more kids should have that knowledge,” Smith said.

Kristy Memphis is currently a marketing intern at JA of Central Maryland. She is a Communication, Technology, and Culture major at Bridgewater College, and a Political Science minor. She will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in May 2020.

Annapolis Mayor’s Son Follows in His Dad’s Footsteps at JA BizTown

JA BizTown’s City Hall was abuzz when Mayor Miles Buckley was sworn into office. Citizens cheering, media interviews to schedule and votes to capture, but he knew the big shoes he had to fill taking on this role.

The fifth grader at Annapolis Elementary is also the son of Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley.

“He’s called ‘mini mayor’ at home, so I was thrilled to hear that he was going to be the mayor of JA BizTown,” added Mayor Buckley. “He wanted to wear a black tie and jacket like his dad.”
 

“I wanted to become the mayor of JA BizTown to see what it would be like to do my dad’s job for a day,” said Miles.

While Miles was eager to be JA BizTown Mayor, he was even more excited to have his dad by his side for his busy schedule, which included speaking at town hall meetings, media interviews, assigning job responsibilities, properly budgeting money for JA BizTown and more.

“The process to become mayor was so realistic, that his inauguration reminded me of my inauguration about a year ago,” said Mayor Buckley, who mentored his son through the JA BizTown experience.

“I love that he is campaigning, balancing a budget, and being held responsible for what makes you sometimes unpopular to others. It is exciting for him to have such an experience handling real-world dilemmas that most adults take for granted. I hope that Miles will leave JA BizTown understanding how to budget money, and the importance of spending only what you make,” said Mayor Buckley.

For now, Miles will head back to the classroom and let his father get back to work.

“Being mayor is more difficult than I thought. I thought that my dad just completed paperwork all day. I did not think that I would have to create budgets, attend interviews and juggle meetings the entire day. I don’t think this job is for me, I will leave it to my dad,” said Miles.

DeJonna Farrar is a marketing intern at Junior Achievement. She is a Business Communication major at Stevenson University who graduates with her Bachelor of Science in May 2019. Her primary focus within her major is marketing.

Bloom into Spring While Supporting JA Kids!

Talk about “flower power!” We’re excited to announce that Flowers & Fancies, a local Baltimore florist, will feature a beautifully designed flower arrangement especially for friends and supporters of Junior Achievement of Central Maryland. Through the Blooms 4 A Better Bmore campaign, 50% of every JA flower arrangement sold will be donated back to our organization.

The customized arrangement seen here is available in one size and could be just the surprise you were looking for to let someone special know how much you care. With upcoming dates celebrating nurses, teachers, mothers and other important people in our lives, select the JA flower arrangement through Flowers & Fancies and you can also feel good about supporting more than 48,000 local students as they work with JA to turn their dreams into plans.

Since 1971, Flowers & Fancies has brought the finest varieties of fresh flowers and plants from local growers and worldwide farms to Central Maryland. Specializing in same-day deliveries, weddings, corporate events and parties. They also feature the largest walk-in cooler in the state of Maryland. Each quarter, Flowers & Fancies selects a worthy organization such as JA and creates a signature flower arrangement to bring awareness to their work in the Baltimore community.

Brighten someone’s day with this beautiful bouquet and support JA!

To purchase this special arrangement, click here.

DeJonna Farrar is a marketing intern at Junior Achievement. She is a Business Communication major at Stevenson University who graduates with her Bachelor of Science in May 2019. Her primary focus within her major is marketing.

An Unforgettable Journey

For a fifth grader, JA BizTown is an unforgettable trip, one where students learn how to write a check, where they get their first paycheck, and where they learn how to run a business. Those are just some of the memories Genevieve Stakias remembers.

Genevieve was the CFO at Bank of America when she first attended JA BizTown a decade ago with her classmates at Riderwood Elementary.

“I still can remember preparing at school for the field trip,” she says. “I was CFO of Bank of America, processing payroll, handling bills, and processing loans. I still even have my lanyard. Not only was the experience wonderful, but the volunteers were extremely helpful. They allowed us to run the businesses on our own but ensured that we were on track and benefitting from the program.” Genevieve had such an awesome experience during her school’s visit that she begged her mom to sign her up for that summer’s JA BizTown camp.

Now a senior at Towson University, Genevieve works as a program intern with JA. Through this role, she has had the opportunity to see JA BizTown through a different lens -- one in which she is responsible for preparing school materials, organizing inventory, and ensuring that the program is set and ready to inspire the next generation of leaders.

“I saw the internship opportunity at TU, and the name Junior Achievement was very familiar. Then I remembered my great experience at JA BizTown and learning about real-world economic experiences. From there, I knew this would be a perfect opportunity for me,” she recalls.

Genevieve, who grew up in Maryland, also coaches basketball, and fluently speaks Greek, Italian, and Spanish. At Towson University she majors in family studies with an interest in human services.

Genevieve loves JA and recommends that more interns apply for the opportunity to be a part of an organization that focuses on real-world experiences for children.

DeJonna Farrar is a marketing intern at Junior Achievement. She is a Business Communication major at Stevenson University who graduates with her Bachelor of Science in May 2019. Her primary focus within her major is marketing.

Open up a world of possibilities with the Save4College State Contribution Program

The State of Maryland and Maryland 529 are teaming up to help make it easier for your child’s dream of attending college come true. Simply open an Account in the Maryland Senator Edward J. Kasemeyer College Investment Plan (also referred to as the Maryland College Investment Plan or MCIP)—managed by T. Rowe Price—a leading investment firm since 1937—and you could be eligible for a $250 or $500 contribution from the State of Maryland. Your savings can be used at nearly any U.S. college, technical or trade school—and even international universities that have a federal school code—for qualified eligible expenses such as tuition, fees, room and board, etc.

Get Started Today

The Maryland College Investment Plan Disclosure Statement provides investment objectives, risks, expenses and costs, fees, and other information you should read and consider carefully before investing. If you or your beneficiary live outside of Maryland, you should compare Maryland 529 to any college savings program offered by your home state or your beneficiary's home state, which may offer state tax or other state benefits such as financial aid, scholarship funds, and protection from creditors that are only available for investments in such state's 529 plan. T. Rowe Price Investment Services, Inc., Distributor/Underwriter. 

Sponsored by Maryland College Investment Plan Program Manager, T. Rowe Price.

Drinks With the CEO Pours a New Strategy of Innovation

JA Associate Leadership Council members benefited from an impactful and thought-provoking session with gracious host and speaker Think | Stack CEO Chris Sasche. He shared insight into his leadership style and company mission to deliver innovation in the tech space.

Sasche shared his entrepreneurial journey and how Think | Stack has evolved in eight years as a growing IT design and cyber governance company serving credit unions across the country. From internal processes to changing the company’s name, attendees saw how pivoting and innovation played a huge role for staff and workflows. Notably, Sasche emphasized his company’s priorities around providing a great digital experience, offered targeted expertise, and being a trusted partner to clients.

“As we grew and brought more people on, the biggest challenge was our internal storytelling,” Sasche explained about why the company rebranded.

So, what does a CEO like Sasche wish he could do over? Finding a mentor sooner rather than later. (We couldn't agree more!) Initially his education in leadership and experience in the field drove his entrepreneurial spirit. Now he credits the help of two mentors who have become “sounding boards.”

Sasche sees the importance of mentorship and is currently providing guidance to young Baltimore entrepreneurs grow their business through the Emerging Tech Center, which provides a community of tech-savvy, innovative and entrepreneurial people looking for creative collaboration to accelerate their growth potential and make a powerful economic impact. Additionally, he also works with organizations like JA and Year Up.

“I get just as much education from mentoring as they do. It forces me to look into things they are talking about and read up about it,” said Sasche.

Severn Entrepreneurs Go Into Business

It's not easy being the new kids on the block, but these entrepreneurs are leading the way at Severn School.

12 students have been exploring business opportunities since mid-October, creating 4 different ventures between them.

One of the ideas included a music app venture that would show students what songs their peers were listening to. 

"I've always thought about starting a company like this, but I never took that next step with production," said Jackson Gunhus. 

Research from Junior Achievement and Ernst & Young LLP showed that 41 percent of teens would consider entrepreneurship as a career option, yet only 6 percent of teen boys have started a business and only 4 percent of teen girls have done the same. The study was conducted by Wakefield Research between October 15 and October 22.

To learn more about JA Company Program at Severn School, click here.

5 Minutes with JA's New Team Members

Our newest JA employees are full steam ahead as the 2018-19 school year rages on, so what better time to catch up with a few new faces at JA.  

Meet our Special Events Manager Paige McFeely
Paige McFeely is already feeling at home at JA. Her new workspace is bright and cheery just like her personality. Prior to joining us, Paige was a second grade teacher at North Glen Elementary in Anne Arundel County where she worked closely with community partners to organize fundraisers and community events. Now, she gets to take her love of events and passion for empowering the next generation into a newly created role at JA.

As the Special Events Manager, she will lead, plan and execute all JA-hosted fundraising events in this newly created position. From managing timelines to creating event program content, she will be working closely with event attendees and corporate sponsors.

“My favorite part of events is watching them come to fruition,” said McFeely.

This crafty woodworker is a natural DIY prodigy. Just wait until you see what she has in store for JA Office Warriors – her first official JA event!

“I started to pick up woodworking in middle school. My dad makes furniture, so I guess you could say I inherited it,” said McFeely.

We think she inherited her love for JA, too! Paige’s first introduction to the organization was through her mother, a former JA Regional Manager serving students in York, PA.

Meet our JA BizTown Manager Brittany Riggins
Another new face to JA will soon become a popular one with our volunteers, educators and students! Brittany Riggins is charged with managing and supervising our elementary capstone program JA BizTown. She will lead and direct volunteers, students, educators, and staff during the simulation as well as recruit schools for participation and create the annual program calendar for visiting schools.

Previously, Brittany was an assistant guide and program director at Baltimore Montessori Public Charter School and over the summer served as a supervisor and science specialist for a summer camp experience at Jewish Community Center. 

There is no doubt that Brittany has always had a passion for helping kids. It’s something she knew at a very young age.

“I wanted to make a difference by connecting with each and every one of my students on an individual level. At an early age I worked for my grandmother who owns her own daycare and my vision was to take it over, but as I reached college teaching seemed more logical,” added Riggins. “In my first year of teaching, one of my kids had hearing loss, so I taught myself sign language and redesigned my classroom to help her learn to sign. It was in that moment I realized I had made a difference beyond anything I had ever done before. Children feed my soul, they are the reason why I push myself harder.”

While Brittany may have coined herself as a “techie,” her JA colleagues concur. She’s regularly chatting about the latest and greatest new tech gadgets.

“I love wireless earbuds, wireless charger ports, chrome books, and I’m obsessed with Fitbit and all of their products!” said Riggins.

So where does this love for technology come from?

“My grandfather is a huge “techie” and I somehow grew up learning how to build computers. He could fix anything, but then it would break weeks or months later and he’d blame it on the software,” said Riggins.

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