JA In The News | Junior Achievement of Chicago

JA is Really Newsworthy!

New JA Program Teaches Students to Earn, Save, Spend & Donate

Junior Achievement of Chicago is launching the newly designed elementary school program, JA Our City featuring Cha-ChingTM, made possible by the generosity of Jackson Charitable Foundation. 

The upgraded program incorporates the Foundation’s signature program, Cha-ChingTM Money Smart Kids, which is a series of three-minute music videos about making real-world money decisions. JA and the Foundation’s partnership integrated Cha-Ching videos and lessons into the JA Our City entrepreneurship, financial literacy and work-preparedness program, which is taught in classrooms to approximately 450,000 third-grade students across the country annually.  To inspire financial learning beyond the classroom, the program includes take-home activities for kids and their parents.

A survey conducted by Wakefield Research for Junior Achievement and the Jackson Charitable Foundation revealed that when it comes to money, kids as old as 10 admit they still have a lot to learn.

According to the JA-Jackson Children’s Financial Literacy Survey which included 500 children seven to 10 years of age and their parents, 33 percent of the young respondents haven’t been taught how to earn money, 41 percent haven’t been taught how to spend money, and 47 percent have not learned how to give money to help people. When asked why they think people put money in a bank, only 53 percent selected the answer of saving it so they won’t spend it. Only 25 percent know you can earn interest on savings.

“The message to parents is simple,” said Maria Ramos, VP of City Operations for JA of Chicago. “It’s never too early to teach your children the short and long-term rewards of saving and spending money wisely.”

The results also demonstrate kids’ awareness about and interest in money, even at a young age. When asked how people earn money, 91 percent of kids responded that people get money from working at a job. Fifty-five percent of kids say they are excited when adults talk about money. Most are knowledgeable about the basics of money, including how to count and save money – likely, in part, due to 82 percent of kids earning an allowance for doing chores, earning good grades, completing homework and simply being kind to others.

 “When it comes to kids and their financial futures, we must begin by encouraging more conversations about the choices we all have around money,” said Jackson Charitable Foundation Executive Director Danielle Robinson. “Adults have the ability to pass along advice and guidance to young people about how to earn, save, spend and donate money — this advice can be life-changing. Jackson Charitable Foundation is thrilled to partner with Junior Achievement to spark more of those important conversations at home and in the classroom.”

According to the survey, parents are open to discussion. The majority (77 percent) believe that money is the easiest to explain to their child, compared to other topics kids inquire about such as where babies come from, death and even politics. The same percentage (77 percent) of parents feel the best place for children to learn the basics of personal finance is at home, at the average age of eight years old and as young as five. And, 92 percent of parents are themselves saving money – for emergencies, college tuition and retirement, followed by vacations and cars and other large purchases.


The Junior Achievement-Jackson Financial Literacy Surveys were conducted by Wakefield Research (www.wakefieldresearch.com) among 500 U.S. children ages 7-10 and 500 parents of U.S. children ages 7-10, between March 21 and March 27, 2017, using an email invitation and an online survey. 

Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results.  For the interviews conducted in this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 4.4 percentage points in each audience from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.

Majority of Teens are Worried About their Parents’ Preparedness to Retire, Know Little About Planning for their Own Retirement

A new survey by Junior Achievement USA and AIG finds that nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of teens are concerned about their parents’ preparedness for retirement while demonstrating a lack of education about their own. Sixty-nine percent of young adults ages 13-18 say they know little or nothing about financial planning.

“Based on the fact that teens are concerned about their parents’ retirements, one might think that today’s young people would be more focused on gaining a better understanding of money management, but these results show that’s not necessarily the case,” said Maria Ramos, VP of City Operations. “The most important message for teens is that by having a plan, and an understanding of what it means to retire well, they will be better positioned for their own retirements when that time comes. This is especially important as Americans are living longer than previous generations”

When asked what they plan to do after they retire, teens cited traveling, hobbies such as golf or crafts, volunteering, and splurging on RVs or vacation homes as their top choices. More than a third (34%) of respondents think they will retire at age 60 or younger; however, one-third believe they will need less than $5,000 saved to retire and on average the teens plan to start saving for retirement at age 29. 

In addition, 46 percent of teens are not confident they know how to plan for retirement. But teens’ lack of understanding about financial and retirement planning does not translate into a lack of understanding about the imperativeness of planning. Ninety-three percent say it is important to have a financial plan for retirement, and 92 percent find value in taking a personal finance class in high school.

When asked to identify descriptions and benefits of financial products such as 401ks, annuities, and social security, nearly half (49%) were able to correctly match 401ks, one-third (33%) were right about annuities, and less than two-third (61%) about Social Security.  Definitions, though, are just the start of any education process and help is needed in the application: While many could define an annuity, less than one-quarter (21%) of teens identified annuities as a protected source of lifetime income compared to bank deposits, stocks and mutual funds—none of which can provide protected income that cannot be outlived. And only about half (51%) were somewhat confident that Social Security will still exist when it’s time for them to retire.  

“We are on a mission to ensure that every American achieves a secure, fulfilling retirement, and that includes kids. The findings we uncovered with Junior Achievement make it clear that we must work with parents and educators to provide teens with greater financial education so they can truly understand what it takes to plan for and achieve the retirements they desire,” said Rob Scheinerman, President of Group Retirement for AIG. “Whether for teens or adults, through the work we do with Junior Achievement and other financial literacy efforts we support, we want to help people gain a deeper understanding of the importance of lifetime income, realize the true cost of retirement, and develop a solid plan for the future.”

To gain the knowledge they need for information about investing for retirement, teens say they would first go to their parents, closely followed by a financial advisor or banker, other family member, teacher, or friend.

Quick Facts:

  • 63% are concerned about their parents’ preparedness for retirement
  • 69% say they know little or nothing about financial planning
  • 93% say it is important to have a financial plan for retirement
  • 72% say they would likely consult a financial advisor about planning for retirement
  • 34% expect to retire at age 60 or younger
  • 30% agreed $5000 or less was enough money to retire
  • The average age teens report they will begin saving for retirement at is 29
  • 46% are not confident they know how to plan for retirement
  • Nearly all (92-95%) students agreed that a personal finance course would be valuable to them

Methodological Notes:

The JA/AIG Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research (www.wakefieldresearch.com) among 1,000 nationally representative U.S. teens, ages 13-18, who are not currently enrolled in college, between August 13 and August 20, 2018, using an email invitation and an online survey.  Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. For the interviews conducted in this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.

FactSet Empowers the Future at McPherson Elementary School

On June 13th, FactSet employees spent the day at McPherson Elementary School in Chicago, teaching students about financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship. Earlier this year, JA was awarded a grant from the company to help with the cost of delivering JA programs to McPherson.

Volunteer Jeff Koeneman first learned about JA when we came to his grade school many years ago and was reacquainted with the organization through FaceSet's corporate social responsibility initiative. He worked with the school's 7th grade students and said he enjoyed guiding the students through "how to take their skills and interest to define a career path."



Josephine Reinhardt volunteered in a 6th grade classroom and taught the JA Global Marketplace program. Thought a bit overwhelmed at first, she enjoys working with kids and was excited to volunteer. She believes JA is important for today's youth since it "exposes students to new topics that are applicable to their lives."

Veronica, a 7th grade McPherson student, was pleasantly surprised by her JA experience. "[The class] at first expected [JA] to be relatively boring, but it turned out to be very fine. We learned a lot from [the volunteers] about money and saving," she said. And the program had quite the impact on her- she said after having FactSet volunteers in her classroom delivering the JA program, she saved money for the first time!

McPherson student Jennifer said her take-away from the program is how to count money, as it will help her when she gets a "high school job."

Jose Gonzalez, a 7th grade teacher at McPherson, says that "programs like JA are important because today's youth need guidance and exposure into what the future holds, what they need to do, as well as what needs to be done in order to be prepared for the 21st Century." He has been teaching for 30 years and has signed up his classroom for JA each year. He believes that the volunteers, like those from FactSet, bring an unqiue value to his classroom and show students the kinds of careers and possibilities available to them.

Thank you, FactSet, for volunteering!

JA of Chicago Receives Grant from the Achievement Foundation

Colorado Springs, Colo. — JA of Chicago has received a grant from The Achievement Foundation. The Achievement Foundation has announced the awarding of Hugh B. Sweeny Jr. Grants totaling $585,000 over two years to Junior Achievement offices in 13 communities across the country. The grants will support the expansion of the JA Company Program®, JA's premier entrepreneurship education initiative, which offers teens the chance to start and run student-led businesses. Each JA office will receive a $25,000 grant for the first year, with a second year grant of $20,000. Grants will be used for the hiring of a staff member whose time is dedicated to the growth of the JA Company Program in that community.

The recipient communities are:

  • JA of Arkansas (Arkansas)
  • JA of the Central Carolinas (Charlotte, NC)
  • JA of Central Florida (Orlando, FL)
  • JA of Central Maryland (Baltimore, MD)
  • JA of Central Texas (Austin, TX)
  • JA of Chicago (Chicago, IL)
  • JA of Delaware (Delaware)
  • JA of Greater Washington (Washington, D.C.)
  • JA of the Michigan Great Lakes (Grand Rapids, MI)
  • JA of South Florida (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
  • JA of Southwest New England (Hartford, CT)
  • JA of Northern New England (Boston, MA)
  • JA of the Upper Midwest (Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN)

"Entrepreneurship is critical to the long-term well-being of our nation," said Maria Ramos, VP of Chicago Operations for JA of Chicago. "We greatly appreciate the Achievement Foundation's investment in helping our young people discover what it means to be an entrepreneur."

The Hugh B. Sweeny Jr. award is named after Hugh B., "Jim," Sweeny, Jr. who served Junior Achievement for more than 32 years, including many years as National Program Director. During his tenure, Mr. Sweeny managed and expanded the National Junior Achievers Conference from 60 participants in 1948 to more than 3,000 delegates in 1977. 

About the Achievement Foundation

The Achievement Foundation, Inc. was formed almost 60 years ago to receive grants, gifts, and bequests for the giving of financial aid for charitable, scientific or educational programs to groups or clubs of boys and girls for the purpose of encouraging them in productive enterprises. The Foundation is exempt from income taxes under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. As such, it is exempt from state and federal income taxes on income related to its tax-exempt purpose and contributions to the Foundation are deductible as charitable contributions for income tax purposes. The Foundation has had a long-standing (albeit non-exclusive) relationship with Junior Achievement through contributions and providing loans to local JA areas in need of financial assistance. Over the past few years, the Foundation has broadened its programs and activities to include grants.  

Interview with JA Volunteer Antonio Perez, Associated Bank Manager

This article is posted courtesy of our JA partners at Associated Bank.

How long have you been doing financial education volunteerism?

I can say that I’ve been doing it for many, many years—at least 30. I started with Junior Achievement after I came to the bank and had volunteered with other financial education organizations before that. It was just something that I have wanted to do and is a good fit for me.


What inspired you to get involved?
I am a firm believer in giving back. It is just the way I was raised and a part of who I am. It’s also a lot of fun and feels really good. I think that if you can impact just one person when you give a presentation—that they can walk away feeling like they’ve learned something—you know you did your job. I teach kids as young as five years old. Being in front of them and sharing my knowledge and expertise is the best feeling, and you can only experience it if you try it.
Why did you choose financial education over other types of volunteerism?
I felt comfortable with it because I work in banking. That level of confidence has grown over time and I now tailor my conversations based on individuals’ needs. I have been involved with other organizations in my community which has allowed me to see where the true needs are. When choosing an organization for yourself, you have to assess your skills as well as your community needs, and find the best fit. My motto is to get involved, stay involved and give back. When I look back, that is my single, proudest achievement.

What importance does financial education play in the community?
When I think back to my schooling, we never had someone speak to us about financial education. I feel that if I had been exposed to it at a younger age, it would have had a bigger impression on me. There are a lot of things we can teach the young and old alike that will benefit their lives. Financial education empowers people to make decisions that improve their financial wellbeing. I wish I had an opportunity like that when I was younger, and I am happy to bring that to others now.

Colleagues in the Chicago area are heavily involved in financial education. Can you tell us more about that initiative?
Every spring and fall, our region dedicates volunteers to teach financial education in the local schools. I am involved in securing and promoting the sessions and work a lot with the Junior Achievement representatives to do so. As a region, we have devoted many hours volunteering in the community because of our partnership with Junior Achievement.

How did your region first get involved with this initiative?
I had been known in the community as someone who is passionate about financial education. About three years ago, Junior Achievement approached us with their need for financial education volunteers. We were highly interested in collaborating with this organization, so my District Manager reached out to me to spearhead the effort and I ran with it. We are currently working with two of our local schools: Huff Elementary and Hillcrest, which is new to us this year.

What advice would you give colleagues wanting to volunteer in their community?
Get involved. We all have certain skills that others can benefit from. It would be a shame if we never shared those with others. Just thinking of the next generation, they could really learn and incorporate our experiences into what they do and become. That knowledge can then cascade to the next generation and so on. Giving back feels good because you can potentially impact the lives of so many people.

Robert Morris Alumnus Turns Service Learning Into a Career


Edgar Montes (2015 Alumnus) was born in Guerrero, Mexico and moved to the United States at age six without knowing any English. It was a big struggle for him to overcome during his elementary and middle school years. He believes the best years of his educational experiences were at RMU because he was able to meet new friends and professors that were a big part of his success.


Edgar's first experience with Junior Achievement of Chicago (JA) was during his undergraduate program at RMU's Elgin campus. Edgar volunteered at two schools, inspiring kids as he taught real-world skills in financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship. This experience led him to his current position at JA as the Operations Manager of their Western Division. In this role he has been able to come back to the Elgin campus, coordinating volunteer events for current RMU students. Recently he worked with more than 50 student volunteers in Elgin-area schools. According to Edgar, "It's always an honor being able to work with Robert Morris University students because I get to share my personal experiences and offer advice to them."

RMU is the #1 University volunteer in the Nation for Junior Achievement, recently receiving the Silver President's Volunteer Service Award for contributing over 10,000 volunteer hours to JA.

This article was written and orginally published by Robert Morris University.

Only Half of Teens Say Gaining Financial Independence from Parents is a Goal for the Future

A new survey by Junior Achievement USA and AIG finds that only half of teens cite becoming financially independent of parents as one of their future goals. The 2018 JA Teens & Personal Finance Survey offers insight into how this generation is thinking about and planning for their financial future while emphasizing the value of financial literacy and personal finance programs. 
“Millennials have sometimes been referred to as ‘the Boomerang Generation’ because during the economic recovery many moved back home with their parents after college due to a weak job market and student loan debt,” said Maria Ramos, VP of Operations of JA of Chicago. “This survey may be showing that today’s teens, Generation Z, could be seeing that as a situation they will encounter down the road.”
Among the survey results, teens stated their financial goals for the future include: graduating from college (75%), creating a savings plan (50%), affording international travel (37%), starting a business (30%), and retiring before age 65 (29%). 
Teens were also asked to share their concerns for the future. Top concerns were: being able to pay for college (54%), finding a fulfilling and well-paying job (52%), not being able to afford their own home (49%), not having skills to manage money (42%), and not having savings for an emergency (41%). Girls who took the survey tended to have higher levels of concern than did the boys. 
“It’s apparent from these findings that today’s youth think a lot about their financial futures, and are looking for ways to be better prepared to be successful at managing money,” said Laura Gallagher, Global Head of Corporate Citizenship at AIG. “One way AIG is helping on this front is by partnering with organizations like Junior Achievement to get young people the information they need to be more prepared and to feel more confident about their futures.”
According to the survey, 95 percent of teens would value personal finance programs being taught in their schools. Currently, most teens get their financial advice from their parents or guardians (72%), followed by online resources including social media (33%), family members other than parents or grandparents (31%), and friends (28%). Only 18 percent currently seek out this information from their high school guidance counselor and 14 percent from a professional financial advisor. 


This week, we honored six Chicago-based organizations with the 2016-2017 U.S. President's Volunteer Service Award for providing at least 5,000 volunteer hours to local Junior Achievement offices during the 2016-2017 school year. The U.S. President's Volunteer Service Award was presented to 57 organizations at an evening awards ceremony during the JA Volunteer Summit, presented by American Express, on March 13, 2018 in New York, NY.

In 2003, President George W. Bush established the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation (the Council) to recognize the valuable contributions volunteers make in communities and encourage more people to serve. The Council created the President's Volunteer Service Award program as a way to thank and honor individuals who, by their demonstrated commitment and example, inspire others to engage in volunteer service. In 2006, Junior Achievement became an official certifying organization for this award, which recognizes corporations with a U.S. presence that provide volunteers to teach JA programs anywhere in the world.

The comanies honored in Chicago were: Allstate Insurance Company (pictured), Robert Morris University - Illinois, The Y, Accenture, Caterpillar Inc., and Grant Thornton.

"Junior Achievement volunteers are important mentors for young people, bringing our programs to life. JA volunteers share their experiences and skills with students while delivering our programs, teaching them how to manage their money, succeed in the workforce, or start a business that creates jobs and grows the economy. JA’s volunteers are critical to our organization’s success and are a vital part of our mission," said Sandy Daffé, President of Junior Achievement of Chicago.

Junior Achievement’s kindergarten through high school programs are delivered across the country by a network of more than 243,000 volunteers, including over 14,000 in the Chicago area. The complete list of recipients can be found here.


Spring Volunteer Opportunities Galore!

It's not too late to volunteer this spring! Sign up for one (or more!) of the volunteer opportunties below.

Will County Area

To volunteer for the events below, please email Colleen Adent.
Reverse Job Shadow
April 27th from 12:30pm-2:30pm
Summit Hill Junior High
7260 W. North Ave Frankfort, IL 60423
JA in a Day
May 9th from 9:00am-11:30pm
Lincoln Cultural Center Montessori 
240 Warren Ave Kankakee, IL 60901
JA in a Day
May 31st from 1:00pm-3:00pm
Frankfort Square Elementary 
7710 W. Kingston Dr. Frankfort, IL 60423
To volunteer for one the oppportunities below, please email Eric Sperstad.
Gompers Middle School – Career Fair 
Date & Time:  May 4, 2018 8:00 AM-12:00 PM
Location: 1501 Copperfield Ave. Joliet 60432
Hufford Junior High School- JA It's My Future Part 2 
Date & Time: May 16, 2018 8:00 – 11:20 AM
Location: 1125 N Larkin Ave, Joliet, IL 60435

North Suburban Cook County

Volunteer for one of the events below by emailing Leah Zeiger.
JA Weekly Class
Flexible dates/times
Walker School
3601 Church Street, Evanston IL 60203
JA Weekly Class
Flexible dates/times
Hynes Elementary
9000 Belleforte Morton Grove, IL 60053
JA Career Day
May 2nd, 8:30-11:30 am
Nichols Middle School
800 Greenleaf St, Evanston, IL 60202

South Suburban Cook County

To volutneer for one of the events below, please email Asia Ousley.
JA in a Day
April 19th, 8:30am – 11:00am (Kindergarten only)
Woodbine School, 3003 50th Ct, Cicero
JA in a Day
April 25th, 11:00am – 2:30pm
McKinley School, 1400 S 59th Ave, Cicero
JA in a Day
April 30th, 8:30am – 12:00pm (4th – 6th Grades Only) 
Lincoln School, 3545 S 61st Ave, Cicero
JA Reverse Job Shadow Day
May 4th, 8:30am – 12:30pm (6th – 8th Grades Only)
Irving School, 805 S. 17th Avenue, Maywood
ALL Career Fields Needed
To volunteer for one of the events below, please email Lisa Brzezicki.
JA in a Day
Thursday, April 19th
8:30am-11:45am & 11:45am- 3:00pm
Timber Trails Elementary
1675 McDonough Rd, Hoffman Estates, IL 60192
JA in a Day
Thursday, May 3rd
Campanelli Elementary
310 Springinsguth Rd, Schaumburg, IL 60193
JA in a Day
Tuesday, May 8th
Lincoln Elementary
1021 N Ridgewood Ln, Palatine, IL 60067
JA in a Day
Thursday, May 10th
11:45am- 2:45pm
Michael Collins Elementary
407 Summit Dr, Schaumburg, IL 60193

DuPage County

Volunteer for one of the events below by emailing Nikki Batsch.
JA Reverse Job Shadow 
May 4th 7:30-11am 
Madison Jr High 
1000 River Oak Dr., Naperville, IL 60565
JA Our Region
April – Flexible
Winfield Central School 
0S150 Winfield Road Winfield, IL 60190
JA in a Day
April or May – Flexible with date
St Michael Parish School 
314 W. Willow Ave. Wheaton, IL 60187
To volunteer for the classes below, please email Ashley Halsten.
Junior Achievement in a Day
Thursday, May 3rd  
Laurel Hill
1750 Laurel Ave, 
Hanover Park, IL 60133
Junior Achievement in a Day
Wednesday, May 9th   
Laurel Hill Elementary
1750 Laurel Ave, 
Hanover Park, IL 60133
Junior Achievement in a Day
Friday, May 18th   
Western Trails Elementary School
860 Idaho Street,
Carol Stream, IL 60188
Flexible schedule (can be coordinated with teacher)
Hawk Hollow Elementary School
235 Jacaranda Dr,
Bartlett, IL 60103
Flexible schedule (can be coordinated with teacher)
Liberty Elementary School
1375 W. Bartlett Road
Bartlett, IL 60103
Flexible schedule (can be coordinated with teacher)
Sycamore Trails Elementary School
1025 Sycamore Lane
Bartlett, IL 60103
Flexible schedule (can be coordinated with teacher)
School: Horizon Elementary School
1701 Greenbrook Blvd.
Hanover Park, IL 60133
Flexible schedule (can be coordinated with teacher)
Glenbrook Elementary School
315 Garden Circle
Streamwood, IL 60107
Flexible schedule (can be coordinated with teacher)
School:Currier Elementary School
801 Gary's Mill Rd
West Chicago, IL 60185
Flexible schedule (can be coordinated with teacher)
School: Pioneer Elementary School
615 Kenwood Ave
West Chicago, IL 60185
To volunteer for the classes below, please email Mia Fromknecht.
Traditional:  2 classes - 3rd Grade
Flexible schedule to be arranged with teacher
Park View Elementary School
250 S. Park Blvd, Glen Ellyn, IL, 60137
Traditional: 3 classes -  Kindergarten
Flexible schedule to be arranged with teacher
Army Trail Elementary School
346 Army Trail Rd, Addison, IL, 60101
JA Reverse Job Shadow
March 22nd, 11a-2pm
Willowbrook High School
1250 South Ardmore Avenue, Villa Park, IL, 60181
JA in a Day:  6th Grade
May 4th, various slots from 7:45a - 2:45p
Indian Trail Jr. High School
220 N. Kennedy Dr., Addison, IL, 60101
To volunteer for one of the classes below, please email Linda Jonynas.
What and/or Program Name: K- 4th grade (traditional)
When: open dates/times
School Name: C.E. Miller Elementary
School Address:  125 W Traube Ave, Westmont IL 60559
When: open dates/times
School Name: Manning Elementary
School Address:  200 N. Linden Ave., Westmont        
When: Mondays or Tuesdays bet. 1:50-2:30. If weekly not feasible, then three 40-50 min. sessions 
School Name: Manning Elementary
School Address:  200 N. Linden Ave., Westmont     
JA in Day
When: May 10th PM: arrive 12:15; start 12:30, finish 2:45pm
School Name: Murphy Elementary
School Address:  7700 Larchwood Lane , Woodridge        
JA in Day
When: Tuesday, May 15th in AM: set up in room 8:15am; begin 8:30; finish 11:20am
School Name: Murphy Elementary
School Address:  7700 Larchwood Lane, Woodridge      
When: variety of dates/times
School Name: Schiesher School
School Address:  5205 Kingston Avenue, Lisle      
When: variety of dates/times
School Name: St. Scholastica School
School Address:  7720 Janes Ave, Woodridge  
Traditional Classes
When: variety of dates/times
School Name: Willow Creek Elementary
School Address:  2901 Jackson Dr. , Woodridge  
Hinsdale Adventist Academy
Variety of dates/times
631 E Hickory St, Hinsdale
Career Speaker for 1 or 2 class periods
Lisle Senior High
1800 Short Street, Lisle
Variety of Careers requested:  Insurance (Driver’s Ed class), Medical career (Anatomy class), Interior Design 



Our Scholarship Applications are Live!


Junior Achievement of Chicago Scholarship Descriptions and Guidelines 2017-2018 

Scholarship Deadline is March 23, 2018  

Applications must be in or postmarked by this date. Children of current full or part time employees of Junior Achievement of Chicago are not eligible for scholarship consideration. These scholarships are only available to students that have particiapted in Junior Achievement programs via the JA of Chicago office (covering McHenry, Lake, Cook, DuPage, Will, Kankakee, Grundy, DeKalb, Kane, Kendall counties and Lake and Porter counties in Indiana.)

Colonel Henry Crown Scholarship ($40,000)

$40,000 scholarship - $10,000 a year for a four-year period while pursuing a degree at an accredited college or university of his or her choice. Opportunity to apply for paid internships (3 summers at 10 weeks each) with a nonprofit organization supported by Crown Family Philanthropies.

Eligibility Criteria: Must be a high school senior who has an average of “B” or better beginning in sophomore year. Must have participated in a Junior Achievement of Chicago high school program.

Applicants need to submit completed Henry Crown Scholarship application with the following attached:

  • Copy of the classroom volunteer or teacher rating scale and letter of recommendation (included in application)
  • Copy of the high school rating scale (included in application)
  • Signed transcript
  • SAT/ACT/PSAT results
  • Student essay detailing your reasons for wanting to continue your education
  • Short biography including extracurricular activities, community service, and how involvement with Junior Achievement has affected your life

*If selected as a finalist 25-minute interviews will be held at the Junior Achievement offices to determine the recipients of the four scholarships. Date TBD.

*Scholastic promise, motivation, moral character, leadership qualities and good citizenship are the major considerations for the selection of awardees.

JA General Scholarships ($1,000 - $5,000)

Junior Achievement of Chicago also awards other scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 as a one-time payment to the college or university of your choice.

Eligibility Criteria: Must be a high school senior who has an average of “B” or better beginning in your sophomore year. Must have participated in a Junior Achievement of Chicago high school program

The Colonel Henry Crown application is used for all general scholarships as well; please submit the application with all of the components listed above for the Henry Crown Scholarship.

High School Heroes Scholarship ($1,000)

This Junior Achievement of Chicago scholarship is made available for those high school seniors who participate in a Junior Achievement program and then go out in the community and mentor and facilitate a Junior Achievement program in a local elementary school serving as the volunteer.

Eligibility Criteria: All high school seniors who participate in a High School Heroes event are eligible to submit an essay detailing their experience. Once submitted, Junior Achievement of Chicago will judge essays on content and form. The author(s) of the top essay(s) will receive scholarship consideration from Junior Achievement of Chicago. 


Junior Achievement USA® (JA) today announced that it will honor Allstate with a  2016-2017 U.S. President's Volunteer Service Award. The U.S. President's Volunteer Service Award will be presented to 57 organizations at an evening awards ceremony during the JA Volunteer Summit, presented by American Express Foundation, on March 13, 2018 in New York, NY.

In 2003, President George W. Bush established the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation (the Council) to recognize the valuable contributions volunteers make in communities and encourage more people to serve. The Council created the President's Volunteer Service Award program as a way to thank and honor individuals who, by their demonstrated commitment and example, inspire others to engage in volunteer service. In 2006, Junior Achievement became an official certifying organization for this award, which recognizes corporations with a U.S. presence that provide volunteers to teach JA programs anywhere in the world.

"Junior Achievement volunteers are important mentors for young people, bringing our programs to life. JA volunteers share their experiences and skills with students while delivering our programs, teaching them how to manage their money, succeed in the workforce, or start a business that creates jobs and grows the economy. JA’s volunteers are critical to our organization’s success and are a vital part of our mission," said Sandy Daffé, President of Junior Achievement of Chicago.

The complete list of recipients can be found here.

AIG’s Corporate Citizenship Honored at Inaugural Insurance Business Awards America

Article provided courtesy of AIG.

AIG had won an award recognizing its commitment to corporate social responsibility, highlighting the company's support of financial education and workforce readiness through its partnership with Junior Achievement.

Pam Rodrigues, Global Volunteer Program Manager, accepted the KemperLesnik Award for Corporate Social Responsibility on AIG's behalf at an awards ceremony in Chicago, and thanked the thousands of AIG employees who selflessly give their time and talents toward inspiring students around the world.

The recognition was given as part of the Insurance Business Awards America 2017. The November ceremony, which recognized the "brightest and best" in the insurance industry, was sponsored by Key Media International, publisher of Insurance Business Magazine, Insurance Business Online and Insurance Business Awards Canada. The event marked the first time that the awards had been given out in the United States. 

Joe Fitzpatrick, Midwest Zone President and JA Board Member, who attended the ceremony said, "this is an incredible honor, and a reflection of the hard work of our people around the world to give back."

Chief Financial Officer Sid Sankaran and several AIG employees who have served as volunteers also attended the event. Marya Propis, Head of Broker Engagement, U.S., was nominated for The Tangram Insurance Services Award for Woman of Distinction, and was also present.

Since 2014, nearly 1,000 employees have volunteered with JA in the classroom, through board leadership and by hosting fundraisers and student activities in their local offices to support programs that empower young people to own their financial success.

Last year alone, AIG invested more than $500,000 to support 14 U.S. and six international cities, ensuring that nearly 24,000 students in more than 1,000 different classrooms in those locations received programming.

Thousands of Insurance Business America readers selected finalists for the awards in 23 categories. AIG was the finalist in three categories: Corporate Social Responsibility, Philanthropy & Community Service featuring the Legal Pro bono program, and Marya's nomination for the Woman of Distinction award.


JA Talks Teens and Entrepreneurship on WGN Radio

New research conducted by ORC International on behalf of Junior Achievement (JA) and EY shows that nearly nine-in-ten parents (88%) would be extremely or very likely to support their teen’s interest in becoming an entrepreneur as an adult, but less than one-in-three teens (30%) demonstrate that same level of enthusiasm for starting a business. For teens, the greatest concerns for starting a business include it being “too risky” (31%) and “not enough money in it” (22%). Only 16 percent of teens indicate they have no concerns about trying. Conversely, 53 percent of parents have no concerns about their teen starting a business as an adult. Those citing concerns focused on it being “too risky” (27%) and there being “not enough money in it” (9%).

“These results speak to some of the challenges facing the nation when it comes to business creation,” said Sandy Daffé, President of Junior Achievement of Chicago. “Since the Great Recession in 2008, the country has been experiencing a net decline in business start-ups. Today’s young people grew up in the shadow of the Financial Crisis, which may explain their risk-aversion when it comes to taking the entrepreneurial leap. This is why we need to promote the benefits of entrepreneurship early and often.”

The survey was conducted to coincide with EY’s support of Junior Achievement’s JA Launch Lesson, a program delivered by community entrepreneurs whereby high school students gain firsthand knowledge about starting a business and the entrepreneurial journey. JA Launch Lesson is a 50-minute educational experience that creates a point-of-entry for students, volunteers, and educators.

Starting in November during National Entrepreneurship month, the JA Launch Lesson program will be delivered by entrepreneurs in classrooms, after-school facilities, and other student venues across the United States. Entrepreneurs are given the opportunity to connect with students, provide relevant information about their company and entrepreneurial journey, and share advice and next steps for students who are interested in starting their own business.

Teens were also asked what they would need in order to consider becoming an entrepreneur. About half said they would need “more information on what it takes to be successful” (51%), “investors” (50%) and “support from parents” (49%). About a third said they would need “a role model who is a business owner” (35%) and “friends with a similar interest” (32%).

“Entrepreneurs are the driving force behind growth and positive change, and at EY we believe it is vital to help enable our future generation of innovators,” said Randy Cain, Vice Chair and Southwest Region Managing Partner, Ernst & Young LLP, and JA USA board member. “Creative, hands-on programs such as JA Launch Lesson are critical to providing our youth with the tools, information, and resources necessary to succeed when starting their own business.”

JA was recently interviewed on WGN Radio about this survey and how JA programs are inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs. Listen to the full interview here. Are you an entrepreneur and want to volunteer for the JA Launch Lesson? Sign up here.

TD Ameritrade Supports JA High School Heroes Programs

This spring, Proviso West and Proviso East high schools participated in the Junior Achievement – High School Heroes program. Junior Achievement is an educational nonprofit that brings financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship programming into classrooms in grades kindergarten through high school. High School Heroes is where high school students go out in the community for one day to facilitate a Junior Achievement program in a local elementary school serving as the volunteer. 
For this program, high school volunteers deliver the programs effectively and with great impact to make a positive difference in the lives of the kindergarten through 3rd grade students in many at-risk communities. Elementary students benefit from having a role model they can relate to in the classroom while experiencing the JA program. Meanwhile, high school students build public speaking and leadership skills that they can apply to their academic and professional career. Additionally, high school students that volunteered for JA are eligible to apply for JA scholarships.
Prior to the event, students spent 4 hours prepping their class materials during training sessions with Junior Achievement Operations Manager and Proviso East alum (’04), Asia Ousley. 65 Proviso West students (FCS and Human Development) delivered programs to grades K-5 at District 88 feeder schools - Thurgood Marshall Elementary School and Lincoln Elementary School in Bellwood. 
Students started teaching at the beginning of the school day and spent 3-4 hours in the classroom. Participating in this program gave these students an opportunity to - give back to the community earning service hours, enhance their presentation skills, as well as a chance to receive Junior Achievement scholarships. They were also able to get first-hand exposure to the education career field. This program was possible due a generous grant from TD Ameritrade. Many of the students shared that they are now confident that they would like to pursue their career in education! 

Wells Fargo Gives JA $100K to Prepare Students for Jobs

Wells Fargo & Company announced on Monday a $100,000 donation to Junior Achievement of Chicago (JA) that will help prepare 4,600 local students for future employment. The bank’s contribution, more than double its 2016 gift, supports 200 JA financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship programs in Chicago schools.

Chicago Wells Fargo executives and team members presented the grant during a JA Reverse Job Shadow program on Monday at Phoenix Military Academy, a Chicago Public Schools (CPS) high school and Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps Military Academy on the city’s West Side.

JA Reverse Job Shadow– now in its fourth year – brings volunteers into Chicago classrooms to discuss their vocation, education decisions, and the joys and frustrations of their fields with students. In the 2016-2017 school year, the program will give nearly 228,000 students the opportunity to interact with professionals through discussions and hands-on activities. Since 2014, JA Reverse Job Shadow has reached more than 540,000 Chicago area students.

“JA is a key partner for our school in preparing students for the world of work,” said Army Sergeant First Class and senior advisor Michael Walker of Phoenix Military Academy. “JA’s career-readiness programs and volunteers from the business world help students understand the potential for their futures.”

Phoenix Military Academy, which has participated in JA since 2006, has put more than 3,800 students through JA programs. Ninety-six percent of the school’s students are from low-to-moderate-income homes.

More Chicago schools and classrooms reap the benefits of JA programming than any U.S. city, serving approximately 570,000 students of all racial and economic backgrounds in 27,000-plus classrooms at no cost to schools. During the 2015-2016 school year, 62 percent of JA of Chicago students were from low-to-moderate income homes. During their primary and secondary school years, half of all CPS children have some contact with JA programs, which are led by community volunteers, including Wells Fargo team members.

“Wells Fargo is a proud, longtime supporter of Junior Achievement’s efforts in Chicago and nationwide to help make students more employable in the future,” said Patrice DeCorrevont, executive vice president and division manager for Wells Fargo Government and Institutional Banking, who is based in Chicago. “We are committed champions of economic empowerment in our communities and invest in programs that improve educational opportunities for children.”

More than 60 Wells Fargo team members such as DeCorrevont serve on JA’s area boards nationwide, including Chicago-based company executives Steve Battreall, president and CEO for Commercial Distribution Finance, and Daniel Van Aken, managing director and portfolio manager for Industrials Group. A dozen Wells Fargo team members have volunteered in more than 30 Chicago classrooms in the 2016-2017 school year to date, with more volunteers scheduled through June.

Marsh & McLennan Companies Make an Impact in Chicago

Junior Achievement of Chicago (JA) is proud to announce a generous $10,000 grant awarded by Marsh & McLennan Companies (MMC). This grant supports MMC's volunteerism with JA and brought the JA programs to over 750 students in the City of Chicago.

In November 2016, 26 Mercer and NERA employees volunteered in 16 classrooms at St. Nicholas Tolentine School in the West Lawn neighborhood. This past May, 37 March, Mercer, NERA, and Oliver Wyman employees volunteered in 18 classrooms at Volta Elementary School in the Albany Park neighborhood.

"We are grateful for MMC's involvement in JA, including that of our board member, Jim Fields of Oliver Wyman. Because of their support and volunteerism, our programs reach hundreds of additional JA students each year" says Laura Cebula, Associate Director of Communications and Development at JA.

Thank you again to MMC and all of their employee volunteers for empowering the future with JA!


Pushing Buttons

This post was written by Samantha Kent, a JA volunteer from Allstate Insurance Company.

I volunteered in Ms. Pierce’s 4th grade class as part of Allstate’s JA in a Day at Lewis School of Excellence in Chicago this month.  I know running a school can be incredibly challenging, but what I saw above all else in my classroom and throughout the day was a group of children who were grateful for their school, who respected their teacher and the adults in that building, who knew what was expected of them, and tried their hardest to live up to those expectations.

In short, I was amazed.

IMG_6349I spend a week every summer at a camp for children with life threatening illnesses and chronic diseases. We get a lot of campers from inner city Maryland/DC and inner city Philadelphia. There is so much of their lives that I can’t relate to nor begin to understand, but every summer, our camp director helps by reminding us that it is a child’s job to push your buttons, to make you mad, and to annoy you, and it is our job, as adults (and educators as is the case with Lewis Elementary), to let them. They can’t grow and develop unless they push the boundaries. But what’s pivotal to their successful development is that structure and boundaries are created and enforced in return. If we can direct their “pushes,” there is hope that they will begin to forge the right path on their own.

The school and the class teacher I was paired with, in particular, exudes this sentiment. I was amazed at how well the teacher managed his students, how well he knew them and responded to their behavior. What amazed me even more was his ability to discipline the students and in the next breath build them up and redirect them. He treated them as human beings, as individuals with control over the choices that they make, providing boundaries to make those choices and giving them options, and challenging them to pick the best one.

I felt like I was watching the students grow and change right before my eyes.

I could go on gushing about my experience, but I might never stop so I will conclude with, probably, the most important takeaways I had from my volunteer experience. I grew up in Newtown, Connecticut and was very personally affected by what happened in my town in December 2012. I have not set foot in an elementary school since and was not prepared for how that would affect me walking through the halls of Lewis Elementary. But from the first teacher we met (a 6th grade teacher who was so incredibly funny, positive, and kind) to stepping foot in the classroom, I felt so safe, so grounded, and so welcomed.

My day ended with some incredible questions from a 4th grader named Jazzi (Jazzilyn). After asking the students to share with me what they had learned or what they enjoyed most about the day, she raised her hand and asked me questions that no adult has ever asked me! And I must share – because I believe they are a direct reflection of not only the schooling they are getting, but the environment Lewis Elementary's staff have created for them as well. She asked me: “When you were preparing to find a job, how did you decide, how did you pick a company like Allstate?; “What kind of problems do you solve? Like, in your job, when you’re at work, what problems do you work on every day?”

I was dumbfounded by the intelligence behind these questions. They were beyond anything an adult or peer has ever asked me – and let me remind you, Jazzi is 10.

I hope Allstate and Lewis Elementary partner up again – I cannot wait to return. Until then, I know I’ll be talking about this for as long as people will let me! The Lewis staff are superheroes.

JA Alumni Spotlight: Ken Koger

3854946Ken Koger is an entrepreneur and financial advisor in Chicago. He was a student in the JA Company Program in Pendleton, Indiana in the early 1980s. He and his classmates met at a JA Center after school in Anderson, Indiana. JA Centers were commonplace before JA expanded to in-school programming. The JA Company Program was the first program JA offered when the organization was founded in 1919 and serves as the JA capstone program today.


The program introduces students to the key elements involved in organizing and operating a business, while empowering them to solve problems and address local needs through the entrepreneurial spirit. Volunteers lead high school students through the semester-long program, from business inception through liquidation.

Ken and his business partners developed a Monopoly game for their town, called Anderson Madopoly. The group sold spaces on the game board to area businesses to offset production costs. Delco Remy (now Remy International) volunteered to lead the students through the program and even allowed the students to produce the game pieces on the equipment at their factory.

The students produced the game close to the holidays to capitalize on the busy sales season and the first batch they produced sold out right away. The business received local media attention for their unique product, as local Monopoly games had not been popularized.

"I just had a fabulous JA experience," says Ken. In fact, he is still close friends with many of the other students from the business.

Every student has a role in the JA Company Program. Ken was the Vice President and helped the business set sales records for JA. Ken was even selected to travel to Cincinnati for JA conference.

"I learned so much about being an entrepreneur...it stuck with me all these years," Ken reflected, "entrepreneurship has been an underlying theme in my career and JA gave me that foundation."

Ken went to Ball State University and studies telecommunications and marketing. He enjoyed the production side of telecommunications and received enough contract work after graduation that he was able to start his own business.

After ten years, Ken sold his company and opened his own life insurance agency, another entrepreneurial venture. He then went back to school to become a financial adviser. Today, he is a Financial Advisor with Ziegler Wealth Management in Chicago. He still has his hand in entrepreneurship and is in the funding phase of  launching an e-commerce business for which he is the founder and CEO.

"You will work harder for yourself than anyone else," he says, " and JA gave me the courage to work for myself."

Allstate Volunteers Impact 3,4000+ Students

Tom, Roger & Timothy 10.6.16

Junior Achievement of Chicago is excited to thank The Allstate Foundation for their 2016 $100,000 grant. This grant brought JA programs to 200 classrooms impacting over 3,400 students.

The Allstate Foundation offers several grant programs to support charitable organizations where Allstate agency owners and employees volunteer. The Foundation invests in the local efforts of our Allstate’s agency owners and employees, who are passionate about their communities and have a keen understanding of what they need most. In 2015, Allstate, together with its employees, agency owners and The Allstate Foundation gave $36 million to nonprofits across the nation and volunteered more than 250,000 hours. Since their founding in 1952, they've  contributed more than $400 million.


"The Allstate Foundation is a wonderful supporter of JA and their gift to JA made, and will continue to make, an impact on so many JA students," said Tom Staab, SVP of Development at Junior Achievement of Chicago.

The Allstate Foundation's gift benefited students in the following towns:

Arlington Heights

Buffalo Grove


Chicago Ridge

Downers Grove

Morton Grove

Mount Prospect




Prospect Heights




Pictured are JA Board Members Tom Clarkson (left), President West Territory at Allstate Insurance, and Roger Odle (right), Field Senior Vice President at Allstate Insurance Company, with a JA student.

McDonald's Corporation Empowers the Future!

Last year, long-time JA partner firm McDonald's renewed their annual gift with JA, bringing JA programs to 100 classrooms. To add to the generous financial support, McDonald’s employees volunteered in 148 JA classrooms and reached 3,068 JA students in the local community. JA’s current Area Board member is Bob Stewart (Corporate Vice President, Global Supply Chain Services) and his leadership has been an integral part of McDonald’s 2016-2017 JA involvement.

Former JA Area Board member Susan Forsell (V.P. of Sustainability) and current JA DuPage County Divisional Board member Mark Grippando (Senior Director of US IT Supplier Management and Procurement) spearhead a leadership team to attract additional supporters. The JA leadership team is comprised of McDonald’s business leaders who represent a wide range of backgrounds and professional expertise. In addition to Forsell and Grippando, this group included Jana Midlock, Mary Lou Douglas, Linda Bartlett, Gregory Miller and Joan Ruedel. Bringing a great wealth of wisdom, insight and experience, this dedicated team provides a hands-on approach to positioning JA as a leader in economic education and volunteerism within McDonald’s. Together, they recruited 53 McDonald’s volunteers to participate in 148 classrooms during the school year, a 58 class increase from the previous school year.

Thank you McDonald's for empowering the future!


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