JA student Jill Hughes said that not only did Junior Achievement give her invaluable business knowledge, but with that knowledge she was able to start a school-supply drive organization, which she plans to turn into an official nonprofit organization soon. Paul Kappel, president of Junior Achievement of Delaware Valley, shared Jill’s amazing success story.
“I am so grateful for everything that I had the opportunity to learn. Thank you so much for everything that you taught me about business!” Jill said.
This summer, Jill said she was scrolling through her Facebook newsfeed and she saw that one of her favorite football players, Ray Rice (of the Baltimore Ravens), posted about a school-supply drive he started for classrooms in Maryland. This sparked an idea in Jill’s mind: What if there was a school supply drive for Philadelphia?
“The Philly school district is facing extreme budget cuts, and it is sad to see these kids being put at such a disadvantage. I immediately reached out to Mr. Rice, via email, explaining my goal and seeking his help to start a Philly school supply drive,” Jill said. “To my surprise, (Ray) emailed back in a couple of days! He was very excited for what I was doing, and actually put me in touch with his good friend, retired Philadelphia Eagles running back Brian Westbrook. After a month or so of communication with Mr. Westbrook and his assistant, (and additional establishments of the program), Mr. Westbrook generously donated 250 backpacks as well as supplies to the program!”
Jill had read a New York Times article about how Andrew Jackson School in South Philadelphia was receiving major budget cuts and how their 410 students would be without many school supplies. In addition to the supplies that Westbrook provided, Jill was able to raise additional funding for more backpacks. She also collected school supplies to put in the backpacks with the help of her local church. In addition to the book bags, she bought supplies for teachers and extra notebooks for the classrooms.
“This process and establishing the school-supply drive organization has not been easy, but it has been so worthwhile. Doing this was one of the best decisions I've ever made. Not only have I received more real-world business knowledge and skills, but I've been able to expand my network as well as help out with a cause I'm passionate about,” Jill said. “In the end, though, none of this would have been possible without the excellent JA program. Thanks to you and all of the volunteers, who taught me so much about business and really inspired me, I've been able to create this organization, and hopefully soon will be able to file for nonprofit status, as well as expand the program. Thank you so much, you really did change my life!”