He Proudly Announced, “...I Got the Job!”

Blog entry from Megan Sturges, President and CEO of JA of Greater Kansas City

On the last day of class, Marcus wasn’t there. He had been the most engaged of the ten students in this session of JA Personal Finance at Wyandotte High School. He was the wise guy of the group. An intelligent young man with insightful questions and sarcastic remarks. He was always joking about something, but he led his classmates in participation. I’ll admit, I was disappointed in his absence and the missed opportunity to say goodbye and wish him luck.

Earlier in the course, we discussed each student’s career aspirations and the education needed to achieve their goals. These students, all male and all minority, dreamed of success as accountants. As the first in their families to attend college, planning and funding an education was uncharted territory. Our lessons covered budgeting, saving, investing, and the many expenses associated with attending post-secondary school. To say these young men were overwhelmed would be an understatement. However, their discouragement slowly transformed into determination as we worked through budget exercises, conducted mock interviews, and practiced negotiation tactics.  

Taking my advice, Marcus decided to apply for his first job to begin saving money for college. I knew he had an initial interview with a clothing retail store, but on this last day of class, I had not heard if he was offered the job. Ten minutes after the start of class, Marcus confidently strutted into the room. He proudly announced, “Ms. Sturges, I’m sorry to interrupt, but I have to tell you… I got the job! And I used what you taught us to negotiate my pay!”

The pride I felt in that moment is the pride our volunteers feel in the classroom every semester.  Many times, the results of our work at Junior Achievement are seen many years later in the collegiate and professional success of our students after graduation. But on this day, I witnessed the immediate effect of the lessons on Marcus’ future. Our curriculum and volunteers prepare and inspire students to take control of their financial health - building the next generation of leaders, and in this case, well-educated accountants.

 

Positive Female Role Models Impacting the Future Generations

Original Story from Junior Achievement of South Central Kentucky in Bowling Green, Kentucky

On March 8th, JA of South Central Kentucky hosted their first JA Girl$ event. Sponsored by Citizens First Bank and in partnership with the Young Athenas, they brought in 125 7th grade girls from the local middle schools for a JA in a Day using the “JA It's My Future" curriculum. The girls were surrounded by positive female role models who focused on teaching them that the decisions they make now impact their future. The following is an email sent from one of the schools that attended the event.

"I just wanted to say thank you for a great day at the JA Girl$ event. Our young ladies loved it!  While loading the bus back to school, one of our girls said, ‘After the lady (Dr. Sales) spoke to us at lunch, I feel like I could do anything.’  

That afternoon when we returned to school, Mr. Reed, one of our Social Studies teachers, told me about something exciting that happened in his classroom. He said that T.C. (a young lady who attended the event) rarely wants to present in the classroom. They have been doing classroom presentations and she has been dreading it. However, when she returned to the classroom, she approached him and asked if she could be the next to present. She said that she had been inspired by the women she met at the JA event and that she was more than ready to present to the class.

I couldn't let the week get away from me without sharing with you. Thanks for hosting such a wonderful event for our girls who so desperately needed to hear the words that were spoken on Wednesday! Please share this with the presenters who invested their time to make this such a wonderful event for our girls. We are thankful for each of you!”

Junior Achievement Rock Star

Original Story from Junior Achievement of Kentuckiana

When the Lauri Wade, Counselor at Kerrick Elementary School in Louisville, tweeted “Best day ever!” along with her student’s photo, she could never have imagined the chain of events that would occur.

The photo of her 5th grade student, Dallas, dressed as the JA BizTown utility Meter Reader, showed a young man whose face just beamed from the experience he was having in the learning laboratory. Within a few hours, the JA of Kentuckiana staff determined that Dallas should be on the cover of the 2017 Annual Report, which was a single day away from being sent to the printer.

 JA staff sent an email to the JA  BizTown teacher liaison asking the  school to try to obtain permission  from Dallas’ parents. After a flurry of  late night emails, the teacher  reported back that Dallas’ aunt gave  this permission. The graphic  designer scrambled to change the  cover and the printed annual report  was delivered two weeks later.

When JA of Kentuckiana president Debra Hoffer took copies to Dallas’ classroom, Ms. Wade pulled her aside and said, “You know, he almost didn’t get to come because of his behavior. I had to bring him in my car.” When Dallas was handed the annual report, he let out a loud, “Yay!” All of his classmates surrounded him and, rather than being left behind and forgotten, he is now a rock star.

Imagine if we could empower a generation to transform “I can’t” into “I can.” We can. Together.

Making a Difference in One Life

Original Story from Junior Achievement of Northern Indiana

This is a testimonial from Dan Copelan, a Board of Directors member for JA of Northern Indiana.

“In November I spent an hour in a classroom at Northrop High School as a Junior Achievement volunteer. In celebration of Entrepreneur Week (November 14-20) as one of 100 volunteers, our mission was to share knowledge with students about entrepreneurship.

This was not my first time as an adult in a classroom, but it was the best classroom experience I’ve had. The students were respectful, interested and asked a lot of questions. In fact, the class ended before we could get to all of the questions. And, it wasn’t just a few students; most of the class showed interest in the topics we discussed.

The classroom teacher is Lisa Arnold. From the collective response of the students, I firmly believe that Ms. Arnold is an excellent teacher. Her students showed a level of maturity that you don’t typically see in high school freshmen.

The other day I received a number of handwritten notes from Lisa’s students. As I read them, I felt grateful that I am in a position to be invited to participate in this type of event. Those notes tell me that I made some impact on them. If I was able to connect with just one young person, it was worth it and I would do it again in a heartbeat. In fact, I have already been back to Ms. Arnold’s classroom to visit another of her classes.”

            Dan Copeland, President & Publisher of Business People Magazine in                         Fort Wayne, Indiana

The Power of a Mentor

Original Story from Junior Achievement of Wisconsin

Our JA Business Challenge was held on February 16, 2017.  Haley Gandara, one of our student team mentors, shared this story about her experience with Junior Achievement:

“I was involved with JA as a student at Memorial High School in Madison, Wisconsin. Dan Pacetti was a JA volunteer in our personal finance class and came each week to speak. He and my personal finance teacher, Mr. Thomas, were the first to point out my business skills and made me truly consider business as a career. I always had an interest in entrepreneurship, but they were the first to encourage me to consciously think about it.

When my class partner and I won the JA Titan Challenge in our classroom, we had the opportunity to compete at the same Business Challenge we are volunteering for on Thursday. I remember trying a new strategy that didn’t work and then catching up at the end to win a scholarship. We went on to the Wisconsin JA Business Challenge to compete against others from across Wisconsin. Dan Pacetti became a mentor to me after that.  He helped me as I looked through business programs and decided where to attend. I still appreciate that relationship to this day, and I have JA to thank for it!”

Haley is now the Director of Client Relations and Marketing at Empower Wealth Management in Madison, WI.

 

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