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Q&A with 2019 TCS NYC Marathon Runner, Megan Albin

Megan Albin, 33, will be running her 5th marathon this year with Team JA New York in the 2019 TCS NYC Marathon! Read about how her friends keep her motivated, her post-race dinner plan for November 3rd, and more!
Q: How did you get involved with JA New York?
A: I first heard about JA at my place of employment while learning about various volunteer opportunities that supported financial literacy education in youth. I volunteered with JA in a local elementary school in Missouri. I love what JA supports and was excited to join the JA New York team. 
Q: Why did you decide to run the 2019 TCS NYC Marathon? 
A: I spectated my husband run the 2014 and 2016 TCS NYC Marathon, then we ran the 2018 TCS NYC Marathon together and the experience was one that I will never forget. The TCS NYC Marathon is like no other marathon, I cannot wait to re-live the experience again! 
Q: Who/what is your biggest motivation to train? 
A: Training for marathons and triathlons is my social life, I enjoy the time it gives me to spend with friends, de-stress, and it keeps me sane and in good health. 
Q: How do you measure success as a runner? 
A: Staying consistent and improving myself without getting injured. Of course I am competitive with friends, but at the end of the day I have personal targets for myself that I aspire to achieve. 
Q: What is the best running/training lesson you’ve learned? 
A: Never say never because anything that you put your mind to is possible! 
Q: What is the most challenging part of marathon training? 
A: Waking up before 5am to train and being on time to meet my training partners! 
Q: What are your favorite pre- and post-run meals? 
A: Pre-Run: Mashed Potatoes, lots of Mashed Potatoes! 
Post-Run: I like recovery shakes after training runs but after the NYC Marathon I already have my post marathon meal planned – Chinese food! 
Q: What are some songs on your favorite running playlist? 
A: Call me crazy, I don’t listen to music when I run. I like to enjoy conversations with friends while I run, or get lost in my thoughts. 
Click here to support Megan's campaign for JA New York!

Q&A with 2019 TCS NYC Marathon Runner, Becky Gatto

Becky Gatto, 42, is running the 2019 TCS NYC Marathon with Team JA New York! This will be Becky's first marathon ever! Check out what keeps her motivated, her favorite bands to run to, and more!     
Q: How did you get involved with JA New York?
A: My company, Robert Half, has been partnering with JANY for several years now. I became an in-classroom volunteer about 3 years ago and I have loved every minute of it!
Q: Why did you decide to run the 2019 TCS NYC Marathon?  
A: Frankly, running a marathon has always been something I wanted to do but was reluctant for obvious reasons.  I started doing half marathons a few years ago and decided to go for the full this year in the best City- NYC! 
Q: Who/what is your biggest motivation to train?  
A: I think I felt motivated to run and train for the marathon because it seemed scary and impossible for me to accomplish.  Mostly, I love showing my 2 young boys that it’s never too late to challenge yourself and it means the world to make them proud of me! I recently read a quote that really resonated with me “Happiness is the joy we feel striving after our potential.”
Q: How do you measure success as a runner?  
A: If you run, you’re a runner and that to me is something to be celebrated. A successful runner puts in the time and effort to achieve whatever goal they set out for themselves – whether they reach that goal or not. The older I get, the more I realize how lucky I am to be able to enjoy going for a run. 
Q: What is the best running/training lesson you’ve learned?   
A: Being a distance runner is not something that develops overnight. The key is to be consistent and don’t over-do it.  Listen to your body, make sure you fuel and sleep well and take those much-needed days off to rest and regenerate.  Your hard work will pay off, but you need to be smart about taking care of yourself along the way.
Q: What is the most challenging part of marathon training?  
A: There’s no doubt that marathon training is both mentally and physically challenging. The hardest part can be carving out the time and commitment in our busy lives to make the time. I am grateful to my family for their support (and time away spent training) while I embark on this adventure.
Q: What are your favorite pre- and post-run meals?  
A: Water, Gatorade, a handful of gummies and a plain bagel beforehand.  Post-run, I likely reach for a banana, pretzels and an adult refreshment or 2.
Q: What are some songs on your favorite running playlist? 
A: Tons of Classic Rock - Led Zeppelin, the Who and newer music like Mumford and Sons, Imagine Dragons with bouts of hip hop.  I like running to music that makes me happy and keeps me calm yet motivated.
Click here to support Becky's campaign for Team JA New York!

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
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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

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