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Q&A with 2019 TCS NYC Marathon Runner, Jen Tyson

Jennifer Tyson, 32, is joining Team JA New York from London for the 2019 TCS NYC Marathon! Check out her marathon goals, favorite Clif Bar flavors, and more!

Q: How did you get involved with JA New York?
A: My colleagues in the Refinitiv legal team in the US have been supporting JA New York for many years and our US General Counsel is on the Board of Trustees. During one of his visits to the London office we got talking about my passion for running and a few months later he let me know there was a place available with JA New York to run the 2019 TCS NYC Marathon. It has been on my bucket list for ages and JA New York sounded like a great cause, so it didn't take long to decide to sign up!
Q: Why did you decide to run the 2019 TCS NYC Marathon?
A: The TCS NYC Marathon is one of the Abbott World Marathon Majors and I'm aiming to eventually run all six. So far I've run London and Boston, and in addition to the TCS NYC Marathon I am also running Chicago this year, which means I will only have Berlin and Tokyo left.
Q: Who/what is your biggest motivation to train?
A: Having run a few marathons before, I know that it’s all about the training. I'm motivated to put the hours in during the months leading up to the race because I know it will help me have the best and most enjoyable marathon possible. I'm very competitive too, but only with myself – ever since I got my current personal best in 2016 I have been trying to beat it! Plus one of the best things about the training is that every run you complete is an achievement. It feels good to achieve something every day for four months.
Q: How do you measure success as a runner?
A: For me an ideal marathon success would be to get a new personal best. However, from experience I know that sometimes things don't go to plan and circumstances outside your control can impact a race. In those situations, success is being able to accept that you aren't going to achieve your goal and to enjoy the event nonetheless. It can be hard not to think that all your training has been a waste but you have to remember that it is all part of the journey and just as much an achievement as getting a good time in the marathon.
Q: What is the best running/training lesson you’ve learned?
A: So many, marathon training is a huge learning experience. Something I often have to remind myself of is that a multitude of factors can impact your performance, so you mustn't worry too much if you have a bad run. And a more practical lesson I've learned is the importance of doing strength exercises for avoiding injury!
Q: What is the most challenging part of marathon training?
A: Getting up really early to run before work! All of the marathons I have run so far have been spring marathons, so my training took place during the winter. As the TCS NYC Marathon takes place in autumn, I'm training over the summer and have struggled a bit so far with the heat.
Q: What are your favorite pre- and post-run meals?
A: Before a run I have something high in carbs like toast or granola. A mistake I've made in the past is to have the same thing too often, meaning that by the end of training I'm sick of it – I can't bear porridge now for this reason! So I try to keep things varied. My absolute favourite immediate post-run snack is a Clif Bar (especially Crunchy Peanut Butter or Blueberry Crisp). 
Q: What are some songs on your favorite running playlist?
A: I actually listen to podcasts when I run, rather than music. People often wonder how I manage without the beat of music to keep me going, but I prefer the distraction of an interesting interview.
Click here to support Jen's campaign for JA New York!

Q&A with 2019 TCS NYC Marathon Runner, Anna Copman

Anna Copman, 23, is running the 2019 TCS NYC Marathon for JA New York - her first marathon ever! Check out why she loves JA, her favorite pre- and post-run snacks, and more!

Q: How did you get involved with JA New York?
A: Through Deloitte – I’ve been volunteering with team JA for a few years now, and as a nonnative New Yorker, serving with JA in different NY Public Schools has been such a meaningful way to spend my time and explore the city!
Q: Why did you decide to run the 2019 TCS NYC Marathon?
A: It’s a bucket list item for me! 
Q: Who/what is your biggest motivation to train?
A: All of the incredible people who will be on the course with me on race day, as well as past NYC marathoners who run to support causes near and dear to their hearts.
Q: How do you measure success as a runner?
A: When my will to keep running wins over my body/mind’s desire to stop.
Q: What is the best running/training lesson you’ve learned?
A: Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right! Also water. Lots of water.
Q: What is the most challenging part of marathon training?
A: Maintaining a training schedule while also traveling for work. And finding new music/ways to occupy myself as I run to distract me from thinking about how tired I am.

Q: What are your favorite pre- and post-run meals?
A: Pre- whole wheat bagel with peanut butter!!
Post- WATER and protein smoothies (also with plenty of peanut butter)
Q: What are some songs on your favorite running playlist?
A: I listen to everything from The Beatles to Drake to Quinn XCII when I run – I love it all!
Click here to support Anna's campaign for JA New York!

Junior Achievement From Bogota to New York

We asked Junior Achievement of New York Fellow, Sandra Wilson, to tell us about her JA story. Sandra joined us as not only a former JA Colombia employee, but a JA alumnus! Check out her story!
My name is Sandra Wilson, and I’m from Bogota, Colombia. I moved to the New York City area less than two years ago. It has been an enormous challenge but an amazing one. First of all, looking for a job in my field was difficult. Even though I have the skills and experience in my native country that make me qualified for positions, I found many barriers here, such the language, the job culture, and finding the right opportunity. The good thing is that Junior Achievement has made a really big impact and helped me achieve my goals since I was a little girl. 
I remember the time when I was in fourth grade and my teacher Mrs. Pilar Gaitan told the whole class that we were going to have a special guest for six weeks one day each week. “WOW!” I said to myself. “I would be lucky if the visitor comes when gym class is scheduled, because I hated gym class!” I remember seeing my friends’ faces glow with happiness each day that the volunteer arrived. He carried a nice JA briefcase with hands-on materials. It was such a great time! 
From 1999 to 2002 I received Colombia Emprededora’s program, which was JA’s curriculum in Colombia. Those programs really opened my mind – I learned concepts for life and tips that I might have in mind when I am heading into the workforce. I am so grateful and happy with my school for accepting JA. 
However, the story doesn’t end there! In 2011 while I was attending college, I volunteered in JA Colombia organizing a Job Shadow event. It came about because my sister Carolina was working for JA Colombia and introduced me to the President of the organization.  At that time I really reconnected with JA. 
In 2013 after I achieved my Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, I started working at Junior Achievement Colombia as a Project Coordinator. For three years working in Junior Achievement Colombia, I recognized the power of network, leadership, and soft skills that I have used throughout my life. I was so happy to see how I had grown during my time in that role. In the beginning, I was in charge of the basic programs, and then I coordinated programs with a higher level of responsibility. 
One of my favorite programs was “Key: La llave que abre tu futuro” (The key that opens your future). It is a program that runs for four months with a certain number of students in high school. The students attend four camping trips for two days each outside of the city where they learn the hard and soft skills that are involved in all three JA pillars: financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and work readiness. I became a facilitator for young people! In 2014, I also had the opportunity to attend to the “COY: Company of the Year” in Ecuador with the students that had excellent business ideas and graduated from the Key program that year. I also met JA staff members from other countries whom I am still in contact with. 
I arrived in America in May 2017, and today, I can say that I am used living in New York. Waking in the Big Apple is no longer just a dream! I am living it! I am very grateful for the JA New York team that gave me the opportunity to work as a Fellow for the Mobile Finance Park program since last November. 
I love experiencing life in NYC, and I have been participating in JA’s events and activities that I used to attend in my country but in Spanish. For example, I’ve taught “JA Ourselves” and “Our City” curricula here and in Colombia. It’s been a huge learning experience.
The most important thing for me is to show and share with people that JA is more than a global organization. It is an organization that helps people develop skills for life, achieve goals, and learn the importance of making an impact in new generations. I love being part of Junior Achievement!
 -- Sandra Wilson, JA New York Fellow, 2018-2019

JA New York from Civic Corps Member, Lynnette Dent

Lynnette Dent is a member of Civic Corps, a division of NYC Service, working with Junior Achievement of New York for the 2018-19 year as a Programs Associate, helping to bring JA programming to the 90,000 students we serve across all regions.

We asked Lynnette to share her favorite parts about working the JA New York so far. Here's what she told us:

I have been working at Junior Achievement of New York for four months as part of the NYC Civic Corps Program. I am a program associate and I assist the program team by coordinating volunteers at events at schools throughout the city.

One major Junior Achievement program is JA Finance Park, a capstone project for students in grades seven through twelve. The program is for students to learn the skills to create and manage a monthly budget. They are randomly given an adult profile with a job and family, and they have to pay all their expenses within one month. Our volunteers act as financial advisors for the students so they can make the best decisions for their futures. I recently assisted at JA Finance Park for a day, and it was really rewarding to watch the students make proper decisions on a micro level. This can be directly translated into their daily lives. It was an amazing experience to see volunteers use their life experiences to educate young minds about creating futures of financial freedom.

The volunteers that I meet through this program are very helpful and they come in to teach kids who they have never met. They do not have any experience teaching, but they come and inspire students for five hours by sharing how they advanced in their careers.

When I walk into the Park or a classroom during a program event, I like that I see everyone smiling and laughing. The students always seem so happy to engage in this new experience since it is something different for them to do in school. The children always make me so proud because I get to learn from them as well.

Since I have been working for Junior Achievement of New York, I have learned valuable skills and have gained beneficial knowledge about working at a non-profit. It has been such a great learning experience for me. Junior Achievement helps many students across the city and I hope that it continues to prosper as an organization for years to come.

Meet Patricia Williams, Junior Achievement Alumna

We chatted with Patricia Williams, an alumna of Junior Achievement of New York. Here’s what she told us about her experiences and how they shaped who she is today:

I began with Junior Achievement of New York in elementary school and continued as a representative of my junior high school to participate in JA’s Job Shadow program, a program that thrives today.

I am a living example of the power of early experiences facilitated by Junior Achievement to shape not only one’s career, but one’s life. Remarkable as it seems, I dove right into the corporate world at the young age of 12 years old.  Two to three times a week, I navigated my way through the city via public transit to “shadow” real-life corporate staff.  I relied on my intelligence, self-discipline, and resourcefulness to negotiate my way through my first JA Job Shadow opportunity with Junior Achievement of New York.

I still remember my first skill: filing hard copy documents for a downtown corporation. Working in a corporate office as a file clerk preceded the advent of today’s computer age. I was delighted to have the opportunity to get the experiences made possible by JA New York. As a young teen, despite the pressure I felt as the only African American in the office, I was inspired.

Who would think that filing documents manually would seed my invaluable organizational skills that would serve me so well in many professional positions throughout my career? 

Guided along the way by mentors and volunteers from JA along with the support of my mother and grandmother, my self-confidence kept me on course. Eager and well-prepared, I went on to college, graduate school and a Juris Doctor degree program. I have three children and enjoy a fulfilling, multi-faceted career. I firmly believe that my experiences with JA played a major role in setting goals and achieving successful accomplishments.

I have always felt these experiences through the JA programs enhanced my ability to be self-sufficient and raise my three children who would each grow up to become entrepreneurs. You can dream forever, but you have to have concrete plans to achieve those dreams. Junior Achievement inspired me to pursue my dreams and turn them into reality.


Copyright P. Williams, 2019. All rights reserved.



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  • "JA activities support our college and career readiness expectations as they bridge connections to real world experiences and professions" – Hazel Cruz, PS 83

    -Junior Achievement Teacher
  • "I learned that running a business includes a lot of work! You have to know how to run it, how much to pay your employees and much more." – PS 83

    -Junior Achievement Student
  • "Guess what? A volunteer from Junior Achievement came to my class! I learned that cities are places to live, eat, work and play." – Justin, PS 83

    -Junior Achievement Student
  • "Junior Achievement has given me my blueprint for success in college and beyond. JA has allowed me to grow as a student, entrepreneur, and as a future college student." – Kaiyell Pettie

    -Junior Achievement Alumnus
  • "JA volunteers give children tangible examples of the unlimited opportunities available to them."

    -Junior Achievement Volunteer

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