Students See into Their Career and Financial Futures

Original Story from JA of Wisconsin regarding Edgewood Elementary in Greenfield, WI.

JA of Wisconsin received this fantastic letter from a parent volunteer regarding their experience in JA BizTown.

“Hello, I wanted to let you know how impressed I am with JA BizTown.  This was my second year helping out and I really enjoy watching the students take on leadership roles in their jobs and see them make choices with their money.  The program is well-run, the employees are professional and the entire JA BizTown concept will have a long-term, positive impact in preparing students for their career and financial future.  I would encourage all schools to put their students through this program because of the positive effect it will have on the students.

I want to give a special shout-out to the Culver’s team.  Each student took initiative and a pride of ownership in their job.  Arthur got to work immediately to pay bills and create payroll, Madison kept the soda supply going, Riley was ready to meet every customer with a smile and Jamisen was prepared to help out wherever it was needed.  I was especially impressed with Herminio, as the CEO, you get pulled in several directions and he handled the chaos with calm and poise.  A good quality in any CEO is to have humility to realize that you are never “too important” for any job.  All day long, Herminio was ready o clean tables and sweep the floor with the rest of his team.  His style of leading by example is the sign of a true leader.

Nice work to all the 5th graders, the day was rewarding for me; I hope the kids enjoyed it as much as I did.”

Hats off to the entire Capstone Team (Melisse’ Wen, Kathy Ladich, Dot Rasmussen, Dawn Cwiklinski,Todd Beutin, Alexandra Hoslet, Denette Kobasick, Karen Brimley, Angie Johnson, Deb Dimberg, Donna Walker, RaChandra Peoples, and Anna Downs)  for giving each person an amazing experience in JA BizTown!

Banking Commissioner Visits Junior Achievement

Original Story from myCentralJersey.com highlighting Junior Achievement of New Jersey

State Banking and Insurance Commissioner Richard J. Badolato recently visited Junior Achievement Finance Park in Newark to discuss financial literacy with New Brunswick High School students.

State Banking and Insurance Commissioner Richard J. Badolato and department staff recently visited the Junior Achievement Finance Park in Newark to discuss financial literacy with New Brunswick High School students as they learn about sound money management basics.

“It is very important to learn about the basic principles of money management now,” Badolato said. “When you head off to college and beyond to start careers, you should already have the foundation necessary to make smart decisions.”

Finance Park is the culmination of a four-week financial literacy program taught at high schools across the state. On the final day of the course, students visit the Park, where volunteers assist them in making simulated financial decisions.

Students take on fictional jobs with income and debit cards and then set financial plans that allow them to budget based on their annual income. They visit various kiosks in the park that represent typical daily living expenses, such as electric bills, housing costs, transportation costs, health care, and home improvement.JR-Achievement-Banking-in-Edison.jpg

Junior Achievement of New Jersey is a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating young people about business, economics and free enterprise. The organization partners with the Department of Banking and Insurance on many financial literacy programs.

Through a dedicated volunteer network, Junior Achievement offers in-school and after-school programs for students in all grades. Since February 2009, Finance Park has reached tens of thousands of students every school year. For more info, visit www.janj.org.

A Volunteer Who is Passionate About JA Programs

Original Story from Junior Achievement of Brown County

Cory has been a volunteer with JA for only two years, but he’s already got 17 completed classrooms under his belt! Cory won the award of “most classrooms taught” last year, as he taught nine in one year. This year, he is on track for receiving the same award. He has also been involved with our Business Challenge, Executive Business Challenge, Biz for Kids, and summer Camp for multiple years.

Cory has a great attitude and is awesome to work with. Many of his teachers describe him as energetic and enthusiastic in the classroom. Cory taught 3rd grade at Langlade last year, and his teacher, Jill, spoke kindly of him. Since he is a Langlade JA alum, he frequently reminded the kids that he was once in their shoes.  As a teacher, Jill loved watching her students grasp those “teachable moments” with Cory.

Cory’s favorite JA experience was also his most challenging. One of the classrooms he had been assigned had a teacher change mid-year, which made his teaching situation less than ideal. But he said, “Working through the bumps in the road and ultimately connecting with a group of students is what made it all worth it.” 

Cory was also brave enough to test our “blended” program at Franklin Middle School. As it was the first year Franklin Middle School used it, there were some issues. Cory worked through those as he understood the importance of going digital and his class was ultimately a success.

Cory graduated with a business degree, but he admits he loves the way teaching JA programs challenge and push him to develop skills that apply to both his professional and personal life. One teaching experience that he shared was about a 5th grade class at King Elementary. He was conducting mock interviews and added some of his own questions to see how the students would do. A very shy girl volunteered to come up and sit across from Cory during the interview. He could tell she was nervous, but as he worked with her, she started getting confident and did a great job.

Why does Cory take on so many programs each year for JA? He explains, “I truly believe in the JA programs & they are something I’ll continue to support while I can. I’m also passionate about teaching and presenting, so this is the perfect outlet. Giving kids of all ages a practical introduction to business basics & money is extremely valuable, simply because there is a gap in what is covered in other traditional school classes. No matter what school or what grade I find myself teaching, I know I’m in for a completely new experience. I like to think it’s a win-win for both groups involved; the kids get new, valuable information with a (hopefully) memorable experience, while I get to do something I really enjoy.”  

Passionate Volunteers Inspire Next Generation Of Cargill Employees

For Justice Sikakane, his first exposure to Junior Achievement made such an impression that today he serves as the chair of Cargill’s JA Corporate Council, a group of employees passionate about the JA mission who collaborate to promote and advocate for JA within their company.

Sikakane, the Salesforce.com administrator/configuration developer at Cargill, also personally volunteers between 12 and 18 hours a month through various JA programs.

“About a year ago, a colleague reached out to say there was a JA Hall of Fame induction ceremony she wouldn’t be able to attend and asked if I would step in for her. I said ‘absolutely’,” Sikakane says. “The event was really my first exposure to JA. Our former CEO Greg Page was being inducted into the JA Hall of Fame, and one of the students from Best Academy, Michael Underwood, was introducing him. From there, I started volunteering with different events like JA Job Shadow, JA BizTown, and really got exposed to JA and Cargill’s footprint with it.” Sikakane saw first-hand how the partnership between Cargill and JA brings opportunities to young scholars.

“JA is an opportunity to really empower students and Michael is a perfect example,” Sikakane says of Underwood. “He’s an aspiring student, very intelligent, very capable and with great potential. We want to empower students like him who aspire to that next level. And when we can share our experiences with those younger than us, it’s an opportunity to say, ‘Here’s what we learned and here’s what we’d like to provide you so you can do well and go beyond what we achieved.’ Having an opportunity to give back to students and see them evolve is a very rewarding feeling.”

In fact, according to a recent Cargill intranet article, JA has been “one of the more popular ways for Cargill employees to engage with communities.” Estimates say more than 200 Cargill employees a year in the Minneapolis metro-area volunteer with Junior Achievement.

“I am very passionate about the different opportunities we have with what we’re trying to achieve with JA and financial literacy, and by Cargill employees volunteering to help give students confidence and inspire them,” Sikakane says. “If we can get into the various communities now and educate them about us…the next future leader of Cargill may come from one of these schools.”

Haslet Teen Goes into Business Helping the Blind Feel Color​

Original story from NBC Dallas Fort Worth

What started out as a class project has become a full, real business venture for a North Texan who can’t even drive yet.

Jakayla Dixon of Haslet just patented her design for a clothing tag and launched her business called “Feel the Color.”

The tags are designed to be like any other shirt or pants tag, but Braille markings and raised letters are sewn in so that the blind and visually impaired can have a better view of the clothes they’re purchasing and putting on.

Right now she just plans to add the colors of the garment to the tag, but said that could expand to add more information as the product grows.

Over the past several weeks Jakayla has been pitching her idea to investors and working with her attorney to secure the patent, in between classes and homework.

            Dixon is only 15 years old and a sophomore at Eaton High School in Haslet.

She enrolled in the school’s Academy of Business Management and Entrepreneurship last year thinking it would just be a path for her studies, but a simple class project that hit a personal note for her changed it into a passion.

            The assignment was to create an innovative business idea.

Dixon said she immediately thought to her aunt, who lost her sight about 20 years ago after surgery.

            "She sees shadows but what's a shadow when I see colors on a daily basis?" she said.

So she decided to use the project as a way to come up with something to help her aunt do a daily task a little easier: pick out an outfit.

Jakayla began studying and learning Braille and developed the tags that, to her surprise, no one else had come up with yet.

“They have some similar but they’re like hard plastic and aluminum,” she said, “and who wants aluminum in their clothes?”

When she pitched the idea at a local conference, she found several people and investors interested in making it a reality.

So now, Feel the Color is an actual business working to find more investors and get the tags into clothes in stores to help the blind everywhere.

            "I have a manufacturer who's waiting for my go ahead,” she said.

Jakayla even has five employees comprised of fellow classmates who fill positions ranging from accounting to human resources.

Staff at Junior Achievement of Fort Worth added - “Jakayla is a very special young woman, only a sophomore. She never thought about business or entrepreneurship until she got involved in the JA Co Program last year as a freshman. She is now a true entrepreneur. We got a patent attorney to work with her to protect her product. Last week she spoke at our Ask Breakfast and shared her full story.”

            Great job Jakayla!!

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