JA In The News | Junior Achievement of Central Ohio

JA is Really Newsworthy!

Three New JA BizTown Storefronts Open this Year!

JA BizTown’s first week of the 2017-2018 school year started Monday, September 25th and now offers three new career pathways for students experience. Thanks to Junior Achievement (JA) of Central Ohio’s sponsors, Franklin University, Kroger, and Pepper Construction, students have the opportunity to experience jobs in academia, traditional retail, and skilled trade respectively.

On September 20th JA of Central Ohio’s staff and board members celebrated the expansion with a ribbon cutting, and were joined by leadership from all three shops and several other JA BizTown companies as well.

"We are excited about being a new member of the JA BizTown family. We partner with JA because of the kind of experiential learning kids get here - the world-class learning about business, working in teams, and many other 21st century skills, students are acquiring these abilities right here in the JA BizTown facility."

-Dr. Christopher Washington, Executive Vice President and Provost, Franklin University

Franklin University, Kroger, and Pepper Construction join 14 other Columbus businesses such as Cardinal Health, Huntington, Donatos, IGS, and the Columbus Foundation to help prepare kids in central Ohio for the business of life. This year, JA of Central Ohio will serve over 28,000 students. More than 14,000 of those students will go through the JA BizTown program – learning money management, developing communication skills, and practicing problem solving.

Ohio State Students Mentor JA Company Program Students This Summer

“Practice makes perfect.”  “We learn from failure.”  “Try, try again.

We have all heard these clichés but we also know there is truth to them. We learn from our experiences, yet we don’t often get to practice at life and business. Junior Achievement (JA) programs strive to instill confidence in kids by having them practice the business of life through activities focused on financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and work readiness skills. The JA Company Program hits all three of those categories, and, by allowing high school students the opportunity to build their own business, the JA Company Program provides the ultimate “practice ground” for launching a start-up.

While normally run during the school year, this summer JA of Central Ohio is partnering with The Past Foundation to hold a summer camp implementing the JA Company Program on Tuesday and Thursday mornings beginning June 6th. The ideas, products, companies, and revenue created in this program are all real but the students have mentors on-hand to guide them through market research, business structure, management and leadership, marketing, sales, supply chain management, and finance. This is where students from The Ohio State University have stepped in to help.

With entrepreneurship growing in central Ohio the past several years, Ohio State has begun several programs and classes surrounding entrepreneurship and innovation which is producing business savvy students. Cole Morris is one of these students who will be a mentor during JA’s summer program.

“As a peer mentor, I’m able to share advice and resources directly with the kids that are more actionable; instead of giving the “big picture” answer and telling the students the overall summary of their journey, I can help them navigate each stepping stone with advice tailored to their strengths, weaknesses, and limitations as young adults,” said Morris.

While pursuing finance and data analytics at Ohio State, Morris has also been through the fundamental development phases of starting a business at least three times – providing him the opportunity to interact with small business owners, venture capitalists, accelerators, and more within the Columbus entrepreneurial community. He is looking forward to sharing this knowledge with the summer camp students to help them progress to the next step with their company.

Ibrahim Mohmed is another Ohio State student who will serve as a mentor during the summer camp. Through his personal business (IFAA), Mohmed has already been involved with the The Wellington School JA Company Program*, but is excited to work with more high school kids this summer to help them and their ideas grow.

“Starting and learning how to operate a company is one of the hardest things to do, but it is so beneficial. It will push these kids out of their comfort zones, teach them to be independent, and to learn from their mistakes,” said Mohmed.

If you have a high school student, definitely consider registering them for this summer’s JA Company Program camp, because remember:

“Practice makes perfect.”     “We learn from failure.”     “Try, try again.

Pictures from when the Russian students visited The Wellington School

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*The Wellington School students, in partnership with JA of Central Ohio and the Columbus International Program, are starting a business with peers from Siberia. In January, the Russian students visited the US and in March the US students visited Russia to continue development of their company. Abe Mohmed and his team at IFAA are helping to create an app for the team and plan to have the beta out at the end of May 2017.

Faith McKiver - How the JA BizTown Internship Inspired Me

Working in the Junior Achievement of Central Ohio (JA BizTown) program was an amazing opportunity.  I first learned about this program through my internship coordinator, Mrs. Diawara.  She piqued my interest in how well she described the program.  She explained that I would learn all about finance, early childhood education, and running a business.  I was intrigued by the opportunity, and I also still needed the required 120 internship hours to graduate.  I thought to myself, what an excellent opportunity!  On the other hand, I was a bit apprehensive about accepting the JA BizTown Internship, because I knew nothing about finance, nor educating younger children.  Today, I am glad that I did not let my apprehensiveness get the best of me!

Through the JA BizTown internship, I learned several things about myself.  I learned how to have fun with children, and how to make the JA BizTown experience more fun for the children.  I also learned the importance of budgeting and saving money.  As a result, I feel better prepared to manage upcoming student loans and scholarship money.

In the fall of 2017, I will begin a new academic journey at the Columbus State Community College.

The JA Biztown internship has given me the confidence to pursue business management as a major.  Furthermore, I am the first person in my family to attend college.

Early on in life, I realized the importance of going to college.  I knew that I did not want to live paycheck to paycheck, or to accrue an excessive amount of debt to attend school.   I simply desire more out of life.  Going to college is a blessing for me.  It is a chance at financial freedom and multiple career opportunities for me as well as my family.  Through my personal experience, I want other students, (including the JA BizTown students), to see me, and to know that they can accomplish any academic or career goal they desire. I strive to be a positive role model for all students.

Happy International Women's Day!

Women of JACO

Today is International Women’s Day so I thought I would highlight a women’s initiative here at JA of Central Ohio (JACO) called Women of JACO (WJACO). WJACO is a group of women who gather throughout the year to engage and impact local students, network with other female professionals, participate in professional development opportunities, promote their career and industry to local students, and further the mission of Junior Achievement (JA).

Elizabeth Brown 3This last Friday, WJACO hosted a panel discussion titled Championing Women in the Workplace – providing ideas on how to proactively support women in the workplace and how to address gender issues in the office. The rock star panel consisted of Kelley Griesmer from the Columbus Foundation, Councilmember Elizabeth Brown, and Caroline Worley, owner and Co-Founder of Worley Law. WJACO also had the opportunity to host PhD candidate Jill Yavorsky as the moderator. Jill is an expert on patterns and mechanisms of gender inequality in the workplace as well as unequal divisions of labor between men and women in the home. (Who better to guide the conversation!?!)

With Jill’s guidance, the panel answered questions on career advancement, the wage gap, women mentorship, and work-life balance. There was an abundance of great advice, but here are a few of the key takeaways:

Advancing Your Career & the Wage Gap

  1. Be brave for yourself and others. Don’t be afraid to call out a gender issue, it will help people recognize it and change.
  2. Negotiate your salary. Ask for promotions and prepare 6 to 12 month plans.
  3. Don’t self-anchor yourself (aka don’t be afraid to brag)

    1. Every couple of months write down your accomplishments
    2. Recommended Book: Brag! The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It by Peggy 

MentorshipJill and Morgan

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – everyone needs a mentor even if you are at the top of your game
  2. When meeting with a mentor:

    1. Set goals
    2. Make Agendas
    3. Talk about challenges in obtaining your goals
    4. Make sure your mentor is committed

  3. Be present for one another, talk about your struggles

Work-Life Balance

  1. Don’t think of it as work-life balance but rather base what you do on your priorities
  2. Don’t overcommit

    1. Recommended Book: Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

  3. Finding the right romantic or marital partner is very important

    1. Be a team
    2. Make sure you are supportive of each other

WJACO puts on several other events throughout the year and is awesome opportunity for professional development and impacting the kids in our community. If you are interested in more information email Amanda Turner at aturner@jacols.org.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Applause

From Classroom to Boardroom

Although many who serve on Junior Achievement’s (JA) Board of Directors can claim experience in the classroom as a JA Volunteer, only one has also served in the role of Educator.

Retired in 2015 after 31 years teaching in Dublin City Schools, and currently serving as a Program Specialist in the Ohio Department of Education’s Office of Educator Effectiveness, Board member Dee Anna Chickerella brings a unique perspective to her leadership role with JA. Her ability to view programming through the lens of a teacher and her personal knowledge of program implementation from inside the classroom brings immeasurable value to JA.

Dee Anna has worked with JA for almost two decades, first helping to bring JA BizTown to her Chapman Elementary classroom in 1998. She quickly recognized the potential of the program, then called Exchange City, to augment her own teaching and jumped at the chance to serve on JA’s local advisory board and help write program curriculum. She subsequently used JA programming to introduce an extended marketplace project with her school community, one that continues to raise thousands of dollars each year and has supported The Dublin Food Pantry, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Kids ‘n Kamp, and other local nonprofit organizations.

In all, more than 1,800 Chapman Elementary students experienced JA BizTown with “Mrs. Chick.” Today, conversations with former students, many now adults themselves, often center on fond memories of the program.

“Every 5th grader that ever went to BizTown always left with a sense of pride in the work they had done and the accomplishments of their business. Years later, they always want to remind me what job they had, how much they learned about money, and how grown up they felt,” said Dee Anna.

In her Board work today, Dee Anna is guided by her understanding of the challenges teachers face on a daily basis. Time to teach curriculum while being part of a high-pressure, high-stakes education system is at the top of the list. A tireless advocate for the classroom, she understands the importance of ensuring teachers are comfortable with program content and aware of its alignment with national and state academic teaching standards.

“JA teachers understand that our programs offer authentic learning, open doors for students to learn about careers they might never have known existed, and help them benefit from time with business mentors and role models to whom they would otherwise not have access.”

A role model herself, Dee Anna was named JA’s 2014 Educator of the Year at the Central Ohio Business Hall of Fame, where attendees had the opportunity to hear from a few former students about the impact she made on their lives. Students shared memories of their experiences in the classroom and at JA BizTown, but most importantly, about the love of learning she had instilled in them, both in and outside of the classroom.

Today, Dee Anna brings that same level of commitment to her work with JA’s Board and on its Development Committee. President Mike Davis comments,

“Dee Anna is a valuable addition to our leadership team. The insight and experience she brings has helped guide decisions at the most strategic level and ensures that student learning is at the forefront of everything we do.”

Dee Anna is equally motivated by her fellow Board members.

“I’m inspired by the commitment and passion demonstrated every day by my fellow board members. My time has been filled with learning, engagement, and advocating for a program about which I am passionate. I believe our work is important, and I can’t imagine anything more fulfilling or a better way to help bring critical educational opportunities to students in Central Ohio.”

Dream Big

As a child, Jack Frencho dreamed of being a dentist. Either that or a professional golfer.

Ultimately, his professional aspirations moved in other directions. Building a career in financial services, today he enjoys success as a wealth management advisor for U.S. Bank. However, through his volunteer work with Junior Achievement, Jack also helps empower students in Central Ohio to explore their own passions just as he did – inspiring them to dream big and giving them the confidence to pursue those dreams.

Jack has served as a JA In-Class volunteer since 2011. He especially loves working with the younger grades, perhaps recognizing a bit of himself in the enthusiasm, energy, and inquisitive minds these students bring to his JA sessions. He recently shared an experience teaching in a 2nd grade classroom, in which one young boy expressed his dream of becoming an entrepreneur, starting his own company, and then selling it after it became successful.

“To dream like this in second grade! I continue to be amazed every day by these students. It gives me confidence that we – teachers, volunteers, parents, and guardians – are doing the right things for our children.”

JA volunteerHonored in 2014 as Junior Achievement of Central Ohio’s Volunteer of the Year, Jack has personally worked with over 300 students. “Jack is an incredible individual,” says JA In-Class Program Manager Stephanie Patton. “Whether he is in a suburban or inner city school, whatever the setting, he has the unique ability to connect with every one of his students. It’s telling that every teacher he has ever volunteered for has requested to have him back.”

In addition to his teaching, Jack has found ways to impact even more students with JA programming, serving as a guest trainer to help prepare new volunteers for their experience in the classroom. He also currently serves on JA’s Volunteer Champions Committee, through which he actively recruits other volunteers at U.S. Bank and other organizations.

He credits U.S. Bank for their support of his involvement with JA.

“U.S. Bank has been a terrific supporter of JA in allowing me the flexibility to teach multiple classes. As a member of U.S. Bank’s Employee Development Network, I have a platform from which to share my experiences and engage colleagues to participate. Today’s environment offers multiple options for employees to share their time, talent, and treasure, and I continue to promote JA as one to always consider.”

U.S. Bank has also been generous in their financial support through the U.S. Bank Foundation and sponsorship of the Central Ohio Business Hall of Fame event.

Jack is emphatic that he gets as much out of his volunteer experiences as do his students. “Each time I teach a class, I learn something new and fresh, and it usually comes from the students themselves. My experience with JA reinforces that being a teacher of children is critical to everyone’s future. The “real” teachers are amazing, patient, and compassionate, and I’m grateful to contribute to the learning that happens in their classrooms.”

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How to Give Back In Your Business

TRUE Studios provides free headshots.

How do you use your talents or resources to give back to the community? I just learned of a video studio that uses their skills to provide free professional headshots.

TRUE Studios is a video production company in Columbus, Ohio that brings creativity and goodness together. Principal and Creative Director, Brian Caiazza, founded TRUE Studios in 2000 – wanting to create a company that was passionate about what they did but also focused on giving back to people. In this spirit, Brian started advertising complimentary professional headshots. What does a free headshot come with? TRUE Studios provides a 10-15 minute studio photo shoot on a black or white background, basic photo retouching and editing for one photo, and three to five great images of you to download. Also remember, this is a free, no strings attached offer!

[caption id="attachment_248" align="alignleft" width="147"]professional headshot My professional headshot by TRUE studios.[/caption]

After seeing it on Facebook I decided to try it out and could not be happier with the product. You do not want to pass this up, because not only will you get a great professional picture to help brand yourself in the business community but it is also a great networking opportunity – Brian has over 15 years of marketing and creative communications experience, so take a minute to get to know him.

In Junior Achievement one of our main pillars is career readiness and includes teaching about professionalism. In an age of social media, your online brand is incredibly important and part of that is a having professional photo. Now a headshot in front of a white or black screen may not be for you, think about what you do and how you want to represent yourself. However, for many in the corporate community this type of professional headshot can make a great first impression on current and future employers. So a big thank you to TRUE Studios for helping people put their best foot forward and for demonstrating how to use your talents and resources to give back to the community.

Check out TRUE Studios to schedule your photoshoot.

Volunteering and its Effect on Office Culture

Volunteering is more than giving time and money at EY – it is their culture.

Their tagline, “Building a better working world”, encourages community involvement. Volunteering with organizations such as Junior Achievement (JA) is one of the ways they connect to the community.

“Volunteering is a daily thing at EY and whenever I talk to someone who has volunteered for a JA In-Class program they always have a big smile on their face as they describe how much they connected to the kids and the kids connected to them,” said Matt Napier, Assurance Senior at EY and JA Volunteer Champion.

How to engage employees in volunteering

Matt started at EY two years ago and heard of JA through the office’s weekly email which communicates different volunteer needs along with office updates.

“I volunteered for the Economics for Success JA In-Class program and I loved it so much I approached Tammy Izzo [EY Central Region Government and Public Sector Leader and JA Board Member] on how I could get more involved,” said Matt, “So I joined the JA Volunteer Champion Committee and became the JA Office Champion, meaning I am responsible for dispersing any information about JA as soon as possible to EY staff.”

An office volunteer champion is a common model for offices to maintain nonprofit relations and promote volunteerism among employees. EY has also incorporated several other tactics, through Matt’s help, such as hosting lunch and learns with JA staff, making sure JA opportunities are consistently in their weekly email, providing incentives for financial giving, e.g. jean day, and including JA volunteer opportunities on employee onboarding days.

[caption id="attachment_226" align="alignnone" width="1024"]ey-volunteers EY employees volunteer to help get JA BizTown ready before students start to attend.[/caption]

EY also sponsors the annual "EY Connect Day" where employees from each EY office spend one day in their community volunteering at a variety of different nonprofits. For JA this could mean participating in JA In-A-Day where volunteers team up and teach all five sessions of a particular JA Program in one day or helping in the administrative offices at JA.

Benefits of having employees volunteer

Studies have shown that volunteering can potentially increase employee productivity, company pride, gratitude in the work environment, and ethical behavior.

One EY volunteer, Alex Criss, described her experience as very rewarding.

“Teaching the JA class helped me develop a number of skills. It was good practice for how to prepare for and give a presentation to a specific audience. I also gained time management skills by managing how to fit each session’s materials into a 45-minute class period,” said Alex.

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There are also team building benefits to volunteering for a JA In-Class program. A new JA campaign initiative, Bring-A-Friend, encourages volunteers to co-teach by either teaching sessions together or splitting the sessions between themselves. EY Volunteer Jesslyn Patel volunteered with her co-worker Kate Pelini [hyperlink to Kate’s article] and commented,

“It was a great way to get an opportunity to bond with a fellow EY member that does not serve in the same service line that I do. I don’t see my friend Kate often, but knowing that I could see her once a week was always exciting!”

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So moral of the story, volunteer!

“I’m so glad I took this opportunity.  It was something I always looked forward to each week, and it was always a nice way to change up the work week! You’ll learn a lot more about yourself than you think through the way you teach, and getting to share life skills with them and see the wheels turning in their minds makes it so worthwhile.” – Kate Pelini.

Junior Achievement's Leadership Academy

What are the benefits of having an internship in High School?

  • Higher confidence?
  • Help deciding a college major?
  • Or perhaps just learning the basics of what it means to be a professional?

All of these reasons are why Junior Achievement (JA) of Central Ohio, along with the help of the Columbus Alternative High School (CAHS), decided to create the JA Leadership Academy. In 2014 and 2015 JA started working with students from CAHS to help run JA BizTown, a simulation where fifth grade students run a miniature city for the day, but it wasn’t until 2016 when the JA Leadership Academy was formed.

"In November of 2015 I met with Samantha Smith, the internship coordinator at CAHS, to discuss how we could use this experience of volunteering at JA BizTown to better prepare students for life after high school,” said Pete Crozier, Vice President of JA Capstone Programs and JA Leadership Academy Founder. “In a brainstorming session we wrote down what skills the students needed once out of school and the different kinds of activities to provide those skills."

The JA Leadership Academy program sets out to teach its interns public speaking skills, career success, and a healthy understanding of risk and failure while building students’ confidence along the way.

"We don’t know what types of environments these students will encounter or what experiences they will have, but we want them to have the confidence to handle any situation – whether that means not being afraid to ask for help or taking a risk," said Crozier.

[caption id="attachment_198" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]group-pic-2 JA Leadership Academy Interns during their visit to Cardinal Health.[/caption]

CAHS students are able to participate in the JA Leadership Academy because of the CAHSmic Internship eXperience, a program allowing juniors and seniors to attend an unpaid internship each Wednesday between early October and late April in lieu of attending school.

“This time spent on an internship is invaluable. It provides a structured environment for students to explore career fields or to engage their communities in unique and often needed ways, as well as providing students a better understanding of themselves, what it is that drives them,” said CAHS Internship Coordinator, Samantha Smith.

For example, first year intern and CAHS senior Anthony Wolff wants to go to school and become a teacher. However, he wanted to make sure he actually enjoyed working with kids before deciding if that would be his major. Good news, his favorite part of JA Leadership Academy is working with kids!

“It has allowed me to interact with students of different ages and backgrounds which taught me patience but has also increased my eagerness to become a teacher!” said Wolff.

Tatyana Payne, second year intern and CAHS Senior, discovered working with kids all day was not what she would want to do for her career. However, she learned that she is a good problem solver.

“There was a day at JA BizTown where several of my students only spoke Spanish. I know very little Spanish so to ensure they still received help and a good experience I took out my phone and used Google Translate to communicate with them,” she said.

Now that is ingenuity!

Volunteering their time at JA BizTown, CAHS students hone their interpersonal communication skills, conflict resolution skills, and problem solving skills.

Mrs. Smith commented, “I have seen timid students who at the beginning of their junior year were unable to make direct eye contact when speaking transform to bold, bubbly people at the end of their internship.”

In fact, two of the interns, Amber Owens and Quoran Knights, spoke in front of over 400 people at this year’s Hall of Fame, as they introduced the Educator of the Year – their very own Internship Coordinator, Mrs. Smith. Deja Reid also presented on behalf of JA in front of 300 people at a Women in Tech conference this past fall.

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In addition to helping run JA BizTown shops, the interns also visit several companies/organizations throughout the year to learn about different career paths and industries available to them. Some of those trips included visiting CD 102.5, City Hall, and Cardinal Health.

If you know of any opportunities for JA Leadership Academy interns to learn more about your career or industry please contact Pete Crozier at pcrozier@jacols.org. Or if you would like to partner with CAHS and their CAHSmic Internship eXperience they are currently looking for after-school or summer opportunities. You can contact Samantha Smith at ssmith2@columbus.k12.oh.us for more information.

2016 Central Ohio Business Hall of Fame

Honoring the leaders of today, who inspire the leaders of tomorrow. 

On November 29, 2016, Junior Achievement, along with the business community, honored the Central Ohio Business Hall of Fame’s two newest Laureates: Dr. Steve Allen, CEO of Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and Alex Fischer, CEO and President of Columbus Partnership.

Joining a distinguished group of noted Central Ohio business and community leaders, the two were selected by past Laureates based on criteria including demonstrated business excellence, visionary and innovative leadership, and community involvement. In the selection process, past Laureates praised Fischer as a “shepherd, integrator, thought leader, and true leader of leaders.” Allen was noted for his focused, caring, and collaborative leadership.”

The induction was co-hosted by elementary, middle, and high school JA students whose skilled presentations to over 400 people provided those in attendance a glimpse of the positive impact of JA programming.

Also honored that evening were Volunteer of the year Roger Madison, Founder and CEO of iZania, and Educator of the Year Samantha Smith, Internship Coordinator at Columbus Alternative High School.

“I’m doing what I love, I’m doing what I do well, and the children we serve certainly need the programs that JA offers. The fulfillment for me is far greater than any compensation I could receive…I want to thank the kids I worked with for letting me be a part of getting them ready for the business of life,” spoke Roger Madison upon receiving his award.

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In a highlight of the event, the two Laureates joined Cristo Rey High School senior Arturo Vallejo and JA Board Chair Dwight Smith for a panel discussion regarding leadership and the community’s role in guiding future leaders. Vallejo participated in the JA Company Program and Dwight Smith is a JA alumnus and founder of Sophisticated Systems, Inc. Following are excerpts from that engaging and informative dialogue.

[caption id="attachment_146" align="aligncenter" width="5071"]panel-alex-speaking-2 From left to right: Dr. Steve Allen, CEO of Nationwide, Arturo Vallejo, Cristo Rey High School Senior, Alex Fischer, CEO and President of the Columbus Partnership, Dwight Smith, Founder, President, and CEO of Sophisticated Systems Inc.[/caption]

Vallejo: As CEO of a school spirit store, I felt very accountable managing my company’s finances and inventory. As CEO’s yourselves, I’d like to know, what keeps you up at night?

Fischer: I think the responsibilities that go with serving the community and the pressure that you put on yourself to make sure you get it right and are achieving on behalf of those who are relying on you can often be an overwhelming feeling that may jolt you awake in the middle of the night. You want to make sure you don’t disappoint the community that you’re serving, but rather serve it with distinction.

Allen: I have a great deal of confidence in the remarkable people who work at the hospital. What I do worry about is the safety of our patients and our staff. There are many things in a complex environment like contemporary healthcare that can go awry and it’s very important that management leadership has a very intense focus on ensuring that it is safe for everyone who comes in through the doors.

Vallejo: What about when things do go wrong? How do you stay calm when there’s a whole company that’s looking up to you as the leader and things don’t go the way they need to?

Allen: From painful experience, I’ve learned that when things don’t go the way I want, invariably it’s because I did not explain my expectations very clearly. One of the challenges in management is to make sure that staff understands exactly what you expect of them. Of course, if I set up expectations with the staff, I need to follow up and say “How did that go?” If I don’t follow up and hold them accountable, they’ll think I don’t think it’s important. So it’s a two-way interaction.

Fischer: I think curveballs inevitably come your way. You have to fall back on your basic principles and the teams that you’ve built to be able to help you lead in crisis. You have to have confidence that the plans you put in place will see you through an outcome. But you also have to not be so rigid that you’re unable to adjust and make shifts in your strategy as you go along with the unexpected.

Smith: The workplace and job trends are changing at such a dramatic pace, what can we do to be better prepared for the future?

Fischer: As I think about how the world is changing and how quickly that change is coming our way, I think it requires us to think about the preparation of our workforce in different ways. I believe that teamwork is more important today than it was decades ago when single individuals could perhaps get more done. It’s being able to adjust to a world of chaos and know that it’s ok not to know exactly what the answer might look like tomorrow or next week or next year, and be comfortable with that. Making sure that our young students and leaders have the experiences that get them comfortable in those sometimes uncomfortable settings in which the outcome can’t be predicted is very important in this society we’re living in and in which change is happening so rapidly.

Allen: I’d add is that it’s a key job of leadership to articulate a compelling vision that says, “This is where we’re going to go. We may not know the exact roads we’re going to take to get there, but here’s where we’re trying to get to.” I always did better when I believed that leadership had thought this through - it gave me the confidence to be able to deal with whatever came along our way.

Vallejo: As a future leader myself, what is my role in the Columbus Smart City initiative?

Fischer: Smart Cities was a great opportunity for Columbus to compete with 78 cities around the country, and win the ability to demonstrate where the future of mobility and transportation is headed. Whether you’re riding the Smart Bus, buying an electric vehicle, or getting on an autonomous vehicle that’s going to transport you without a driver, there are so many things we’re going to be demonstrating to a world that is watching us. There’s a place in Smart Cities for everybody. Our hope is that all residents of Columbus will begin to think about how they can showcase our city.

Allen: With health care a lot of our business is going to depend on being better able to mine the advanced analytics of all the data that we now can capture and will continue to capture in the future. We’re very excited about how this [Smart City Initiative] will further improve our ability to deliver high quality healthcare to all the children in Franklin County.

Smith: What an appropriate way to honor our current leaders and inspire our future leaders. Thank you, gentlemen, for this discussion.

The 2016 JA of Central Ohio Business Hall of Fame rose over $178,000 which will go toward getting kids ready for the business of life.

Junior Achievement congratulates our two newest Laureates and looks forward to their continued contributions to the Central Ohio community. Save the Date for November 16, 2017 where two more Laureates will be inducted into the Central Ohio Business Hall of Fame.

[caption id="attachment_144" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]group-shot Congratulations to all of our 2016 Central Ohio Business Hall of Fame Awardees![/caption]

JA Alumni - Kate Pelini

Why I Give Back

January is JA Alumni month, so we asked Kate Pelini, a JA Alumni and volunteer, to share her experience. Read Pelini's account of her 5th grade JA experience and learn why she gives back now as an EY employee.

As a fifth grader participating in Junior Achievement almost 12 years ago, I will never forget the feeling of craving information that seemed so relevant to real life and what it would be like to be a “grown up.”  The JA program in which I participated focused on entrepreneurial skills – we were learning how to start a company that would make green and yellow car-shaped erasers.  At the end of the program, I remember how receiving that tangible object “our company” was producing was a proud moment for all of us that participated.

That was also the first-time business sparked my interest as a possible career path – at that point in time if someone had suggested to me that I would be an accountant, I don’t think I would have believed them.  But looking back, this was the first exposure I had to anything business-related while in school and it all seemed so logical to me and I looked forward to my time with JA each week.  That is why when the opportunity to be a volunteer with JA presented itself, I was eager to help.  Having such fond memories of my own experience, I hoped I would be able to give a young student the same enthusiasm that I developed over the course of just a few weeks.

The first lesson as a volunteer was somewhat nerve-wracking.  As the time came closer I ey-volunteer-kate-helping-studentrealized I had no idea how I was going to make topics such as credit, budgeting, and insurance seem interesting to 7th graders.  I think the inherent belief, when it comes to these kinds of topics, is that students find them boring, or do not know anything about them, and we as volunteers must start building their skills from the ground up.  It was such a pleasant surprise, and a reminder of how I felt during my own experience, to see so many students get excited about more than just our weekly game, they also had so much of their own knowledge to add to our discussions. They know that things such as budgeting and insurance are real topics that their parents, siblings, and teachers deal with on a regular basis.  It is refreshing to see the students want to be able to participate in those discussions.  It made all the difference in the world for me as a volunteer and I looked forward to each week’s new perspectives.  I can’t wait to teach a new group of students and see more of their passion about taking control of their own finances and futures!

A Teacher's Reflection After JA BizTown

The Power of Kindness

By: 5th Grade Teacher, Belden Leadership School

On Wednesday, December 7th I came with my 5th grade students to JA BizTown and after thinking about the student who had been chosen as mayor I wrote a short reflection on the power of kindness.

I teach 5th grade in Canton, Ohio.  And each year all of the 5th grade students at my school make the two hour trek down I-71 to Columbus to participate in JA BizTown. It is a simulation put on by Junior Achievement where students are adults for the day. An old school has been re-created to resemble a town. While there, students have jobs, go shopping, pay taxes, make deposits and withdraws at the bank and even purchase insurance. Needless to say, it is the highlight of the year for most students.

In the weeks leading up to the trip, there are several things we have to do with students  to prepare. There are lessons to teach on economics, using a checkbook, and entrepreneurship. Students also go through the process of applying and interviewing for jobs. All of the jobs at JA BizTown are selected in this way, except one, the position of mayor. 

In order to be considered for the position of mayor, you must first come to school with a speech prepared on why you are the best candidate for the job. You then give your speech to your homeroom and students vote. This is a sort of “primary” and narrows the field down to four. The four classroom winners then go and give speeches in each of the four fifth grade classrooms and another vote is held. The person with the most votes is then JA BizTown Mayor. 

This year Tiana* was elected by a wide margin. After winning the “primary” round in her homeroom by running uncontested, Tiana went on get the most votes in each and every 5th grade classroom, capturing 50% of the total vote. This surprised me, as I expected (that like in years past) each candidate would get a majority of their homeroom’s votes and the victory would be narrow. When Tiana dominated the election, it made me stop and reflect on why.

Mayor

You see, Tiana is bright, but definitely not the most intelligent student in the 5th grade. She is a pretty girl, but not one of the girls already being sought after by the boys. Tiana gets along with others, but is not in the self proclaimed “popular crowd.” She does not come from a financially well-off family and therefore is not able to have the newest and nicest fashions. So what was it that caused the landslide victory for Tiana?

I came to the conclusion it was very simple, Tiana is nice. She genuinely has a kind heart. She has the rare ability as a 5th grader to treat all of her classmates the same, regardless of their rung on the social ladder. Tiana shows concern for her classmates when they are upset. She does not join in when children get teased. She speaks to everyone with kind words and appropriate language. 

We are in an election year that has divided our country and pushed them to extreme sides on the right and left like never before. There were two candidates who focused a majority of their energy on why the other candidate was inept and finding all of the negative dirt they could on the other. And I asked myself, yes probably with far too much idealism and not enough reality, but yet I dared to ask it anyways, could future American presidential candidates learn something from the 5th grade Mayor of JA BizTown? 

Could it be that a future presidential candidate  could run on a campaign of kindness? Could a person truly just care about others and want the best for everyone? And in doing this capture the hearts and minds of a majority of Americans? Could they focus on all the good they want to do for all citizens as opposed to finding every fault, both true and created, about their opponent?

I know, I know, this is way too simplistic. There is much more to it than that. But, it sure is a nice thought, isn’t it? And while it may not be a reality for the country, I am going to feel hopeful that the next generation might be the one to see things differently, to see people differently, to want someone who is genuinely kind and good to lead them. Because at least in my little corner of Canton, the 5th graders have spoken loud and clear and proved they prefer a leader who will choose nice over nasty, and that there is power in kindness. 

*name has been changed

JA BizTown Summer Camp

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Summer of 2016 began with two weeks of JA BizTown Summer Camp in June. JA BizTown is a simulation where kids in fourth through sixth grades have the opportunity to run a mini-city for the day. Each student has a job that ranges from CEO to Sales Manager or radio DJ to physician. Their goal is to pay off the “business loan” they took out from Huntington Bank by the end of the day. Leading up to the simulation teachers go through 12 to 19 lessons preparing the students for a day at JA BizTown – teaching them how to write a check, the difference between debits and credits, relationship building, and more. Now imagine all of this in one week and you have JA BizTown Summer Camp!

Okay, maybe not exactly. However, the differences are very cool. Having the same kids for an entire week allowed the JA BizTown staff to create a more interactive curriculum and focus on teamwork.

“It’s exciting to have the same kids for five days. It was great to see the kids have the opportunity to build their team throughout the activities,” said JA BizTown Program Manager Diane Betteridge.

With the high-level objectives of teaching kids about entrepreneurship, marketing, customer service, financial literacy, job preparation, philanthropy, teamwork, and personal development, JA BizTown staff brought in speakers, had kids complete projects for non-profit organizations, played out “shark tank” skits, and ran several days of JA BizTown.

A benefit to summer camp is that campers get to go through a two-day-long simulation of running JA BizTown instead of just one. However, before they could run the city they needed to go through some “training”.

ribbonOne of the activities JA BizTown campers participated in was a program called My Special Word, created by JA’s very own Board of Directors Chairman, Dwight Smith. The idea behind My Special Word is to teach students that words are impactful, and using positive words can help inspire, lift you up, and ultimately change how you feel about yourself, others, and the environment. Each camper was given a wristband that said “What is Your Word?” and encouraged to go home and discuss with their family the creation of their special word. The next day, students came back to camp and made a bracelet with their special word on the band. JA is about so much more than financial literacy. A little girl named Lauren lost her mom to cancer last year. She chose the word "ribbon" for her special word because she used to hate seeing cancer ribbons everywhere. She said “ribbon" now served as a reminder to her that it is good to remember the people we love but is are also a message of hope for fighters and survivors. WOW! What an amazing kid!

And there is more. Continuing to teach personal development, JA BizTown Summer Camp instructors brought in non-profit organization My Very Own Blanket to discuss philanthropy. Afterwards, kids worked in their business groups to make blankets for foster children who typically don’t have anything that is their own.

In addition to My Special Word and My Very Own Blanket, JA BizTown campers did learn about financial literacy through games and lessons, along with building miniature cities to learn about community, and participated in job interviews in preparation to run JA BizTown.

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The two most popular jobs are that of the Mayor and radio DJ. Learning about communication skills and public speaking, the kids take part in an election for the two positions, giving speeches on why they are most qualified, leaving their fate up to the voters – JA BizTown citizens. Check out the slideshow to see what their days at JA BizTown looked like including surprise visits from the CD 102.5 ice cream truck and Donatos and Canes for lunch!

On the last day of summer camp, campers were divided into teams and given materials to build a game. Teams then had to create and try to “sell” their game to a panel of JA BizTown instructors – much like the popular tv show Shark Tank. While not as harsh as some of the actual Shark Tank panelists (ahem Kevin O’Leary…), students still learned a lot about entrepreneurship and what it takes to sell a product and build a business.

Check out the below slideshow to get a recap of the two weeks of JA BizTown Summer Camp!

https://jacols.wistia.com/medias/v1pbk9ezcd

 

Next year’s JA BizTown summer camp will run the first two weeks of June ( Save the Date: June 5-9 and June 12-16) and is open to students entering fifth through eighth grade in the fall of 2017. Trust me, your kids will not want to miss out! For more information, you can click here or email Pete Crozier at pcrozier@jacols.org.

My Journey from Parent Volunteer to JA Champion

The day my son came home with information about Junior Achievement (JA) BizTown from his school, I was instantly taken by his excitement towards the program. He described how his class had been learning about balancing checkbooks and career choices. Admittedly, I came to understand that his enthusiasm was not so much around the fiscal lessons, but instead the opportunity to participate in running the business of the Columbus Blue Jackets for a day at JA BizTown. He told my wife and I that he needed to interview for the position he wanted, so his mom volunteered to interview the students for their desired job roles. My wife came home impressed with how enthusiastic the kids were and how some of them even dressed in suits for their interviews. She told me that the school was looking for parent volunteers to accompany the children to JA BizTown and I thought this opportunity was far better than a typical Zoo field trip.

I received information to review prior to my arrival at JA BizTown. As I was reviewing the videos and documents, I became excited for the day to arrive. The program appeared to be an immersive experience for kids, where they were put in charge of a small economy for the day with varying business entities and responsibilities. The group of students I was assigned to mentor for the day immediately took to their roles.

The amount of pride and accountability that the kids exhibited with their role for the day, whether it was CEO or an individual team member, created a fun and positive environment for everyone.

If someone were to ask my favorite part of the day, it would be difficult to define, there were so many moments I saw that brought confidence and excitement to the kids. The public speeches during lunch by the company CEOs, or the look of terror when one of the kids realized that they had left their “kid” at soccer practice would all rank high on my list.  However, the one moment, if I had to choose, would be at the end of the day when the CFO and I were working to get the last payments into the general ledger to pay off the bank loan. He had a purpose and drive to complete the job he started and it was exciting for me to be a part of that for one day.

Following my day at JA BizTown, I found myself speaking to everyone about my experience and encouraging them to participate with their children when they had the opportunity. I quickly realized, however, that many parents and children did not have the opportunity to attend JA BizTown. To help, I spoke with Pete Crozier at Junior Achievement of Central Ohio and set up the opportunity for my company to sponsor a school. We coordinated a team to volunteer our time, mentoring kids during a day of JA BizTown. As I saw my co-workers throughout the day, they expressed how impressed they were with the program and wanted to ensure that I let them know the next opportunity to volunteer. This past September I signed up for another JA BizTown session and added support for a JA-In-A-Day session as well. Many of the same people, but several new, have already committed to supporting both opportunities to volunteer their time and talents.

Junior Achievement has given me the opportunity of moving from a parent volunteer to a JA Champion.

I plan to continue supporting Junior Achievement in the community by exposing others to the volunteer opportunities within JA. I also have selfish reasons for working to support Junior Achievement. The first being that I have younger children who I want to ensure will have the opportunity to participate in the programs that Junior Achievement offers. The other reason is that being a Parent Volunteer is something I have always enjoyed with my kids and Junior Achievement programs provide me a great alternative to the dreaded field trip to the Zoo.

New Experiences Offered by JA of Central Ohio BizTown

Junior Achievement (JA) BizTown kicked off the 2016-2017 school year on September 28th with Buckeye Valley Middle School. The 77 students that attended were the first to encounter a lot of fun changes to JA BizTown. Over the summer, JA BizTown added three new shops – a Cardinal Health Pharmacy store, Discover store, and a kiosk for Franklin University.

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New shops don’t just mean a new look, they also mean new jobs and “life experiences” for JA BizTown citizens. Cardinal Health Pharmacy brought new positions such as a Pharmacist, Pharmacy Technician, and Marketing Director, along with the standard CEO and CFO positions required for every shop. Each job plays an important role to achieve the ultimate goal of paying off the business’s loan which is taken out from Huntington Bank at the beginning of the day. For example, the Pharmacist is responsible for assembling the first aid kits (which are later distributed by the Marketing Director), sorting inventory, and learning directions for the “prescriptions” they will be providing JA BizTown Citizens. The “prescriptions” and first aid kits bring in revenue to go towards paying off the loan. A “prescription” may be needed if a JA BizTown citizen receives a Life Happens card stating that they are ill or have an injury.

Life Happens cards are a new part of JA BizTown to help demonstrate the integration between business and life. Life Happens situations range from illnesses to furthering education. If a citizen receives a card stating that they are ill, they are instructed to go to the Blue Jackets Physician where they receive a prescription that is to be filled at the Cardinal Health Pharmacy. However, a citizen could receive a card directing them to further their education. At this point the student goes to JA BizTown’s new Franklin University kiosk.

sully

The Franklin University Kiosk is run by a volunteer who guides the student through a career interest questionnaire to find out “what they should be when they grow up.” Options include careers in aviation, banking, teaching, and more. Students take a picture in front of a green screen and then have a picture of their “chosen career industry” placed behind them. The picture is printed on the back of a job certificate the student receives, describing the industry and possible career opportunities which the child takes home with them.

“Across the street” from Franklin University is Discover. This new store is JA BizTown’s premier online bank. The shop has a CEO, CFO, Customer Service Representative, Account Executive, and a Sales Manager to run business for a day. Discover provides all JA BizTown citizens with debit cards that allow for direct deposit capabilities – all shops accept cash, check, and debit allowing the student to choose which method they want to use.

JA BizTown will run 130 days this school year, an increase of 16 days from the 2015-2016 school year. JA BizTown, in general, serves fifth grade students; however, it can also encompass grades four and six depending on the school. The interactive simulation of JA BizTown itself takes about four and a half hours, but teachers go through 12 to 19 lessons in their classroom to prepare students for JA BizTown. By the end of the simulation, students should know how to make personal financial decisions and be able to connect their interests and passions to different careers. As Marzooq Nadeem, JA BizTown Mayor from Buckeye Valley Middle School, stated, “[JA BizTown] is one of the most effective ways [students] can learn about the real strategies of everyday life because it’s a hands-on experience.”

Marzooq’s entire speech is available to read here.

 

A New Way to Volunteer for JA In-Class

Fall is here and Junior Achievement (JA) In-Class 2016-2017 programs have been running for one month. With the JA In-Class team (Mike Fulwider, Stephanie Patton, and Wes Taylor) now fully built out, they are projected to increase the number of students served by JA In-Class programs to over 13,000 students – a 1,400 increase from 2015-2016!

As you can imagine, reaching these additional students requires additional volunteers. Several new programs have been created to help engage more of the community with JA programs. One program is the Volunteer Champions Committee (VCC). The VCC is made up of JA volunteers who work within a corporation or organization and want to help spread the word about Junior Achievement. Most recently, our volunteer champion from EY set up a lunch-and-learn where Stephanie Patton, JA Programs Manager, went in to discuss how JA In-Class programs work. JA In-Class volunteers have the opportunity to impact an entire classroom of students – teaching them about entrepreneurship, budgeting, and how they affect the community around them – things most of us wish we had learned at a younger age, right? JA In-Class allows you to bring all of those skills to the students, so when they think about their future they aren’t wondering, “How does a student loan work?” or “How do I manage to pay rent, a car payment, utilities, and still have money for food?”

All of this can sound intimidating. You might think: “I can’t teach about budgeting” or “I’m nervous to do this by myself.” There is no need to worry about that with JA. We train you for one hour on the program and provide all the materials. If you don’t want to teach by yourself, invite a friend to do it with you. This is another new initiative JA In-Class rolled out this year – the “Bring-A-Friend” campaign. Go through the class with a friend, colleague, or family member to help split the time or not have so many of those first day jitters.

Allison Walker of Columbus Children’s Theatre recently volunteered for her first ever JA In-Class program on October 6th, 2016. She was inspired by JA’s very own Kate Hemleben, Vice President of Operations. Check out her interview below about being a new JA In-Class volunteer.

Why did you volunteer for JA?

I was inspired by my friend who just started working at JA. The idea of teaching money and responsibility to our youth was so appealing and exciting to me. I mean, I was the young girl who, for fun, made her Barbies and Lego people work jobs and pay rent!

What were/are you most nervous about when volunteering for a JA In-Class Program?

So far, I am most nervous the hour right before teaching each lesson. I always hope that I am communicating the right ideas. Finding the balance between achieving the lesson in 30 minutes and allowing personal expression has been the most intimidating.

Would you have volunteered at first without a friend?

I would not have even known about JA without Kate! It was not an option for me in school. I really enjoy being able to split the experience with another person. It helps to bounce ideas of one another.

Would you volunteer by yourself now?

I would! It is a little difficult with my schedule, but being able to drive to a nearby school to teach for 45 minutes and head straight back to work is really the equivalent of a hearty lunch break.

What is your favorite part of volunteering for a JA In-Class program?

So far, I most enjoy seeing the kids respond to the organized tasks. It makes me feel like we are communicating the lesson plan correctly as we are eliciting the correct responses. It is so satisfying for everyone to raise their hands with the correct answer!

What would you tell someone who is nervous or considering volunteering for a JA In-Class program?

The Bring-A-Friend system is a terrific way to get into the program! A lesson or two with an experienced teacher may help you feel good heading into the classroom, but the thankyous, compliments, and even a couple hugs from a group of first graders will make you feel like a million bucks!

So there you have it – everything you need to know about volunteering for a JA In-Class program!

The second wave of classes begins in January 2017, which is only about two months away! Check out the JA In-Class Programs page on our website and consider volunteering for a class or sign up now! You won’t regret it!

A Teacher's Reflection After JA BizTown

The Power of Kindness

By: 5th Grade Teacher, Belden Leadership School

On Wednesday, December 7th I came with my 5th grade students to JA BizTown and after thinking about the student who had been chosen as mayor I wrote a short reflection on the power of kindness.

I teach 5th grade in Canton, Ohio.  And each year all of the 5th grade students at my school make the two hour trek down I-71 to Columbus to participate in JA BizTown - a simulation put on by Junior Achievement where students are adults for the day. An old school has been re-created to resemble a town. While there, students have jobs, go shopping, pay taxes, make deposits and withdraws at the bank and even purchase insurance. Needless to say, it is the highlight of the year for most students.

In the weeks leading up to the trip, there are several things we have to do with students  to prepare. There are lessons to teach on economics, using a checkbook, and entrepreneurship. Students also go through the process of applying and interviewing for jobs. All of the jobs at JA BizTown are selected in this way, except one, the position of mayor. 

In order to be considered for the position of mayor, you must first come to school with a speech prepared on why you are the best candidate for the job. You then give your speech to your homeroom and students vote. This is a sort of “primary” and narrows the field down to four. The four classroom winners then go and give speeches in each of the four fifth grade classrooms and another vote is held. The person with the most votes is then JA BizTown Mayor. 

This year Tiana* was elected by a wide margin. After winning the “primary” round in her homeroom by running uncontested, Tiana went on get the most votes in each and every 5th grade classroom, capturing 50% of the total vote. This surprised me, as I expected (that like in years past) each candidate would get a majority of their homeroom’s votes and the victory would be narrow. When Tiana dominated the election, it made me stop and reflect on why.

You see, Tiana is bright, but definitely not the most intelligent student in the 5th grade. She is a pretty girl, but not one of the girls already being sought after by the boys. Tiana gets along with others, but is not in the self proclaimed “popular crowd.” She does not come from a financially well-off family and therefore is not able to have the newest and nicest fashions. So what was it that caused the landslide victory for Tiana?

I came to the conclusion it was very simple, Tiana is nice. She genuinely has a kind heart. She has the rare ability as a 5th grader to treat all of her classmates the same, regardless of their rung on the social ladder. Tiana shows concern for her classmates when they are upset. She does not join in when children get teased. She speaks to everyone with kind words and appropriate language. 

We are in an election year that has divided our country and pushed them to extreme sides on the right and left like never before. There were two candidates who focused a majority of their energy on why the other candidate was inept and finding all of the negative dirt they could on the other. And I asked myself, yes probably with far too much idealism and not enough reality, but yet I dared to ask it anyways, could future American presidential candidates learn something from the 5th grade Mayor of BizTown? 

Could it be that a future presidential candidate  could run on a campaign of kindness? Could a person truly just care about others and want the best for everyone? And in doing this capture the hearts and minds of a majority of Americans? Could they focus on all the good they want to do for all citizens as opposed to finding every fault, both true and created, about their opponent?

I know, I know, this is way too simplistic. There is much more to it than that. But, it sure is a nice thought, isn’t it? And while it may not be a reality for the country, I am going to feel hopeful that the next generation might be the one to see things differently, to see people differently, to want someone who is genuinely kind and good to lead them. Because at least in my little corner of Canton, the 5th graders have spoken loud and clear and proved they prefer a leader who will choose nice over nasty, and that there is power in kindness. 

* name has been changed

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  • "I can't think of a better gift for kids than to prepare them for success in the real world." - Aaron Bahe, Columbus City School Teacher

  • "I loved being the mayor of JA BizTown. I now have a good understanding of how busy business can be." - Gabbie Schneider, JA BizTown Student

  • "I loved my job as the CFO! It was so much fun. If I did this everyday it would be great!" - JA BizTown Student

  • "Kids are capable of more than we know. JA is a great way to demonstrate the real life skills they will all need." JA of Central Ohio Volunteer

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