JA Central Virginia Press Releases | Junior Achievement of Central Virginia

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JA StartUp

CENTRAL VIRGINIA HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS COMPETE IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP CHALLENGE

RICHMOND, VA – April 9, 2019

Students from Henrico and Chesterfield will vie for a $2,500 scholarship at this month's Junior Achievement of Central Virginia JA StartUp Challenge.

JA StartUp, sponsored by Accenture and the CFA Institute, began months ago in area classrooms. Volunteers from Junior Achievement presented a seven-session, hands-on entrepreneurial program to fourteen area classes. The program included collaborative and creative challenges and gave students the tools to create a business plan, analyze customer base and market needs, determine competitive advantages, and make ethical decisions.

Those classes then broke up into small teams, created mock products or services with business plans, and produced short videos to pitch their businesses. A team of 36 virtual voters judged the twenty-one videos and narrowed the pool down to a top ten. Those top ten videos were revealed at a March 26 event held in collaboration with StartUp Virginia at the 1717 Innovation Center.

Now those top ten teams will come together April 14 at the VCU School of Business to compete for the scholarship prize. The teams will each have four minutes to present their mock product or service to a panel of judges. The JA StartUp Competition judges include Chris Lucy and Rochelle Adams of Accenture; Samuel Anderson of Enso Media Firm; Sid Tanu of EnrichHer; and Sharon Dabney Wooldridge of KleaneKare.

Daphne Swanson, president & CEO of JA of Central Virginia, is pleased with the program's growth over the years, "We received more submissions from student teams than in years past thanks to an update to the program. Allowing students to submit videos to be considered for the competition has allowed us to increase our reach. Entrepreneurship is one of JA's three focus areas and JA StartUp truly addresses the need for students to understand what it takes to be innovative – we are excited to be able to open this up to so many students in the area."

Jay Markiewicz, Executive Director of Entrepreneurship Programs at the VCU School of Business acknowledges the importance of JA StartUp, "Our community's youth continue to impress and inspire us with their entrepreneurial spirit.  VCU School of Business, and our VCU student coaches, are proud to partner with Junior Achievement on this exciting program to facilitate creative thinking, develop relevant business skills and showcase high school student venture ideas."

About Junior Achievement of Central Virginia

Junior Achievement (JA) is the world's largest organization dedicated to inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in a global economy. Through a dedicated volunteer network, JA provides in-school and after-school programs for students that focus on three key content areas: work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy. Junior Achievement impacts over 9 million children worldwide. Locally, JA serves over 26,000 students throughout Central Virginia. Visit www.jatoday.org for more information about our programs and impact.

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Junior Achievement Welcomes Charlottesville High School Students to JA Finance Park®

RICHMOND, VA – April 2, 2019

Junior Achievement of Central Virginia (JACV) will host 50 Charlottesville High School students at JA Finance Park on April 9.

JA Finance Park is a field trip experience that gives high school students the foundation upon which they can make intelligent financial decisions that last a lifetime. After participating in 12 in-class lessons, students travel to JA Finance Park to put their skills to the test.

As young people enter JA Finance Park, they leave behind their lives as high school students and are assigned a life scenario: an avatar with a career, salary, credit score, debt, a family, and financial obligations. Using iPads, students make their way through the various stages of the day: savings, research, budgeting and shopping.  JA Finance Park houses a digital, 21st century environment consisting of various businesses that correlate to the personal budget lines each student must manage during their visit.  Volunteers accompany the students through their JA Finance Park experience and serve as mentors, sharing life experiences and asking questions.

All Virginia students must take an Economics and Personal Finance course to graduate high school. JA Finance Park is a comprehensive resource for the requirement.

JACV has served students in Charlottesville for many years, but has recently increased its services to the area. A newly formed JACV Charlottesville Advisory Committee will spearhead efforts to reach more Charlottesville-area students with programming that prepares them for adulthood.

Daphne Swanson, president & CEO of JA of Central Virginia, explains, "JA programs give students skills that will help them succeed. Our volunteers teach young people how to prepare for their future – giving them the tools to enjoy financial and career success. JA students aren't just work-ready…they're life-ready."

JACV board member, Larry Brown, is the newly appointed chair of the Charlottesville committee and is excited to increase program service to area students, "JA Finance Park is the premier resource for students to learn how to save money, create and maintain a budget, and research careers. We want Charlottesville students to experience the hands-on learning opportunities Junior Achievement offers. The newly formed Charlottesville committee will serve as a bridge between schools and businesses as we expand upon the JA programs offered to our students."

About Junior Achievement of Central Virginia

Junior Achievement (JA) is the world's largest organization dedicated to inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in a global economy. Through a dedicated volunteer network, JA provides in-school and after-school programs for students that focus on three key content areas: work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy. Junior Achievement impacts over 9 million children worldwide. Locally, JA serves over 26,000 students throughout Central Virginia. Visit www.jatoday.org for more information about our programs and impact.

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A Long-Standing Partnership in Education

Rotary of West Richmond volunteers are dedicated to teaching Junior Achievement of Central Virginia programs to Crestview Elementary students.

HENRICO, VA – February 27, 2019

The Kindergarten students in Ms. Dash's classroom at Crestview Elementary cheered excitedly when Junior Achievement of Central Virginia volunteer, John Vetrovec, told them he was giving them a cardboard bank during a lesson on savings.

Mr. Vetrovec, first vice president-investments with Davenport & Company, has been teaching Junior Achievement (JA) programs in Ms. Dash's class for almost a decade and is one of several members of the Rotary of West Richmond who have committed to teach JA programs at Crestview. This partnership has endured for the past fifteen years.

"Teaching (JA programs) in Karen Dash's class has been a great experience over the past nine years. Her commitment to education and the kids she teaches is second-to-none. It's been my pleasure to get to know her and her classes each year, and I look forward to our partnership in years to come," stated Mr. Vetrovec. Ms. Dash sees value in the programs, "The lessons are always fun and engaging.  JA has been a positive experience for my students and I look forward to working with John for many years to come!"

Junior Achievement of Central Virginia recruits and trains 2,400 volunteers to present turnkey programs to over 25,000 area K-12 students each year. JA programs focus on financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship. These classroom-based programs align with state standards and are free to schools and teachers, but what makes the programs truly unique are the hands-on activities and volunteer facilitation.

Daphne Swanson, president & CEO of JA of Central Virginia, explains, "Volunteers bring real-world experience into classrooms and connect our communities with our schools. JA volunteers come from all walks-of-life – college students, retirees, entrepreneurs, executives. All are able to infuse their experiences into the JA lessons to give young students insight into what it takes to succeed in life after high school."

Jennifer Drake, principal at Crestview Elementary concurs, "We are preparing our students to be #LifeReady in Henrico, and programs like Junior Achievement add authentic learning experiences to our school day. There is tremendous value in what our community volunteers bring to our students, exposing them to concepts that extend and enrich our curriculum. Crestview is so appreciative of the time, energy, and expertise the Rotary of West Richmond gives our students and staff." 

About Junior Achievement of Central Virginia

Junior Achievement (JA) is the world's largest organization dedicated to inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in a global economy. Through a dedicated volunteer network, JA provides in-school and after-school programs for students that focus on three key content areas: work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy. Junior Achievement impacts over 9 million children worldwide. Locally, JA serves over 26,000 students throughout Central Virginia. Visit www.jatoday.org for more information about our programs and impact.

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JA StartUp™

JA StartUp gives high school students insight into the exciting world of entrepreneurship!

RICHMOND, VA – October 25, 2018

JA StartUp is a three-tiered high school program that fuels the entrepreneurial spirit and provides a launching pad for tomorrow's brightest innovators.  It offers hands-on lessons and small group collaboration, giving students insight into everything it takes to own their own business and control their future. 

The program begins with the JA Be Entrepreneurial program taught in the classroom by a volunteer or group of volunteers. It includes seven 45-minute sessions focusing on developing a product or service, creating a business plan and analyzing competition and customer base.  The dedicated volunteers who facilitate these lessons are able to offer real-world experience. Students break into small teams to begin to develop their products or services.

In the next stage of the program, Pitch Videos, the teams create one- to two-minute videos for their product or service – short commercials. These are virtual…it is not expected that the students will indeed follow through to create them – but of course they are welcome to if they like.  A panel of online judges will determine the ten finalist teams based on innovation, creativity and market viability.  These finalists' videos will be revealed at a viewing party at 1717 Innovation Center, in partnership with Startup Virgnia, late February, 2019.

Finally, the ten finalist teams are invited to participate in the JA StartUp finals at VCU's School of Business on a Saturday in March. Here they will work throughout the day with VCU mentors and volunteers to perfect their business plans and pitches. The students will present their virtual products or services in a Shark Tank-style setting to a panel of judges. The winning team will win a $2,500 scholarship prize.

Last year's winning team hailed from Glen Allen High School. Wyatt Bonovitch, Tyler Andrews and Gary Nolen created Pet Dr., a specialty dog food containing prescribed medicine for pets.

About Junior Achievement of Central Virginia

Junior Achievement (JA) is the world's largest organization dedicated to inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in a global economy. Through a dedicated volunteer network, JA provides in-school and after-school programs for students that focus on three key content areas: work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy. Junior Achievement impacts over 9 million children worldwide. Locally, JA serves over 26,000 students throughout Central Virginia. Visit www.jatoday.org for more information about our programs and impact.

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JA STUDENT VENTURE

CENTRAL VIRGINIA HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS COMPETE IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP CHALLENGE

RICHMOND, VA – February 15, 2018

Students from several school districts will participate in an entrepreneurial challenge on Saturday, February 24.  Sponsored by Accenture, JA Student Venture is a two-part program that begins in the classroom and culminates in a product or service pitch competition in partnership with VCU Snead School of Business.

The first portion of the program began in the fall, with 11 classes participating in the JA Be Entrepreneurial program. This program consists of seven sessions that challenge students through interactive classroom activities, to start their own entrepreneurial ventures. The program, taught by volunteers from local businesses, gives students the skills to determine needed products and services, analyze customer base, seek competitive advantages and create business plans.

Once the classroom sessions are completed, the classes will pull together teams to participate in the second portion of the program, the Virginia Entrepreneurial Challenge on Saturday, February 24.  Held at VCU's Snead School of Business, this all-day event allows teams to meet with mentors, polish business plans and create a presentation and video. The teams then pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges. The winning team will win a cash prize of $2,500.

High schools participating this year include Huguenot, James River, Chesterfield Tech, Varina, Meadowbrook, Tucker, Albemarle and Glen Allen. 

This program has grown each year and is supported by school leaders throughout the region.  Dr. James Lane, superintendent of Chesterfield County Public Schools, attended last year's competition and had this to say, "The Virginia Entrepreneurial Challenge, a component of the JA Student Venture program, provides students with an opportunity to propose cutting-edge business ideas that address today's challenges in Virginia's economy. This project-based learning opportunity allows our students and others to identify a real-world problem and apply the curriculum and skills they have learned in school to help propose a solution. This authentic learning experience prepares them for success in the business world, and it may just produce a product that can make the world a better place."

About Junior Achievement of Central Virginia

Junior Achievement (JA) is the world's largest organization dedicated to inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in a global economy. Through a dedicated volunteer network, JA provides in-school and after-school programs for students that focus on three key content areas: work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy. Junior Achievement impacts over 9 million children worldwide. Locally, JA serves over 26,000 students throughout Central Virginia. Visit www.jatoday.org for more information about our programs and impact.

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Junior Achievement Unveils New JA Finance Park®

RICHMOND, VA – September 28, 2017

Junior Achievement of Central Virginia's (JACV) new and enhanced JA Finance Park opens with an exclusive ribbon cutting Thursday, October 5. 

JA Finance Park is a field trip experience that gives high school students the foundation upon which they can make intelligent financial decisions that last a lifetime. After participating in 12 in-class lessons, students travel to JA Finance Park to put their skills to the test. Assuming adult roles, complete with avatar, career, credit scores, income and family, the students learn to create a monthly budget.

Formerly housed in a Broad Street storefront, the new and enhanced JA Finance Park is over 12,000 square feet – nearly double the size of its previous location!  Thanks to a partnership with Henrico County, it's new location is the third floor of the Libbie Mill Library.

With Capital funding from generous donors, foundations and business sponsors, JACV was able to break ground on this innovative facility that will serve up to 10,000 high school students from Central Virginia.  Memorandums of understanding regarding student participation with several school districts has led to support from the counties of Chesterfield, Glen Allen, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent and Powhatan as well as the City of Richmond.

The new facility houses a digital, 21st century environment consisting of various businesses that correlate to the personal budget lines each student must manage during their JA Finance Park visit.

Before students travel to JA Finance Park®, they take part in JA's unique 12-lesson classroom curriculum, split into four main categories, taught by their teacher. This knowledge serves as a foundation in personal finance education and gives them the skills they need to take on their JA Finance Park® experience with everything they need to be successful.

The program serves as a foundation in personal finance education and gives students the skills they need to take on their JA Finance Park® experience with everything they need to be successful.

The students' experience culminates at JA Finance Park®, where these young people have the opportunity to put their newly-learned skills to the test in this digital, 21st century, innovative learning environment. The "mini-city" houses a variety of businesses, correlating to the personal budget lines each student must manage during their JA Finance Park® visit.

As these young people enter the doors of JA Finance Park, they leave behind their lives as high school students and take on a life scenario: an avatar with a career, salary, credit score, debt, a family, and financial obligations. On tablet computers, students make their way through various phases of the day: savings, research, budgeting and shopping.

About Junior Achievement of Central Virginia

Junior Achievement (JA) is the world's largest organization dedicated to inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in a global economy. Through a dedicated volunteer network, JA provides in-school and after-school programs for students that focus on three key content areas: work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy. Junior Achievement impacts over 9 million children worldwide. Locally, JA serves over 26,000 students throughout Central Virginia. Visit www.jatoday.org for more information about our programs and impact.

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

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

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

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

    -Junior Achievement Student

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