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Junior Achievement (JA) in London, Ontario
mindyourmind wanted to hear all about Junior Achievement after we were invited to a career event hosted by this organization called “World of Choices” for a group of teens to explore different career possibilities. We were given the chance to learn about what they offer to support youth to have an entrepreneurial spirit. A giant thank you to Karen Chafe, Senior Program Manager, for answering our questions!
Tell us about your organization. What do you do? What are your goals and values?
As one of the world’s largest youth-serving NGOs (Non-Profit Organization), JA Worldwide prepares young people for employment and entrepreneurship. For over 100 years, JA (Junior Achievement) has delivered hands on, experiential learning in financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship. We create pathways for employability, job creation, and financial success.
JA London and District is a member of JA Canada and JA Worldwide, and is responsible for bringing JA programs to students in London and throughout Middlesex, Elgin, Oxford, Huron, Perth, Grey and Bruce counties.
What are some of the resources JA offers for youth?
JA offers experiences for students in Grades 4-12 focused on financial literacy, entrepreneurship and work readiness. The majority of our programs are free for students to participate in, thanks to the financial support from businesses and organizations in the community.
We partner with local elementary and high schools to offer programs in their school environment and also have a number of opportunities for students to participate in JA programs outside of school. JA provides students with direct access to mentors, volunteers from the local business community with valuable experiences for students to learn from.
Is there a current project or initiative you’re working on that really excites you?
JA is excited to have launched a new program experience this year called JA World of Choices and we are looking forward to expanding availability for students. World of Choices provides high school students with the chance to network and learn from mentors in a variety of professions. They are able to explore opportunities that are of interest to them as well as opportunities they may not have been previously considering. Catch a glimpse of the first World of Choices event held on April 16, 2019 here.
Can you share some personal success stories that you’ve witness through your time at JA?
JA has impacted many people in many different ways. Here are a few examples of success stories of young JA Alumni who have gone on to successfully run their own businesses:
What positive effects has JA had on youth and the community?
JA empowers young people to own their own financial success. By providing students with experience in business, entrepreneurship and money management, JA gives young people a head start in life and strengthens communities and local economies as a result.
An independent study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group found that:
- By providing youth with the skills necessary to become innovative, productive, and contributing citizens, JA ensures the competitive well-being of Canada’s economy.
- Over 75% of JA graduates believe JA programs have a significant impact in developing their financial skills, decision making skills, analytic capabilities and business sense.
- JA Achievers earn 50% more, on average, that those who do not benefit from JA programs, are 3x more likely to spend less than they earn, and are 50% more likely to open their own business which leads to innovation, new jobs, and wealth creation.
JA asked students and volunteers to share some of the positive effects that JA programs have on them. This video captures some comments about why they love JA.
JA has a company program that equips students to be entrepreneurs. Can you tell us more about that and share any successful business start-ups that have come about as a result of this program?
The JA Company Program is an exciting way for high school students to try their hand at business and entrepreneurship with minimal risk. Students register for free to participate and are placed in teams of 15 to 20 students with 2 to 3 business mentors from the community to advise their team. Over an 18 week period (October to April) student teams develop a product or service idea, form a company, sell shares to raise capital, elect a President and management team, and then launch and run their business with the ultimate goal of realizing a profit. Students are responsible for all aspects of their JA Company and gain valuable experience in teamwork, leadership, critical thinking, and financial management.
JA Companies throughout the region compete against other JA Companies for local, national and international awards.
Here are a couple of examples of JA companies that were run this year:
- Vi-Tech, a JA Company
- Strength in Strings, a JA Company
- Colourful Companions, a JA Company
Learn more and register at: http://jacanada.org/london-district-cp
How can people get involved with JA if they’re interested?
Contact us if you have any questions!
Photo courtesy of Junior Achievement
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