JA (Junior Achievement) is the world’s largest NGO dedicated to educating young people about business. Their programs focus on financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship to give students the skills and confidence they need to become leaders of tomorrow. We spoke with Melissa From, President & CEO of JA Southern Alberta, to find out more about the work they are doing.
Describe your charity/non-profit in a few sentences.
JA (Junior Achievement) is the world’s largest NGO dedicated to educating young people about business. We strive to inspire and prepare youth to succeed in a global economy. With over 120 member organizations worldwide, JA brings a global view of business to local communities. Our programs focused on financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship give students the skills and confidence they need to become leaders of tomorrow.
What problem does it aim to solve?
JA aims to provide young people with financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship education to ensure they have the skills required to succeed in today’s global economy.
When did you start/join it?
JA was started in 1919 and was introduced to Calgary in 1960. I joined the organization in 2010.
What made you want to get involved?
As a parent, I see first hand how critical these practical life skills are for the long term success of our youth.
What was the situation like when you started?
In 2010, the organization was well established, with a 50 year history in the province. However, student reach was only about 15,000 per year. In my decade + with the organization we have grown three-fold and will serve between 45,000 and 50,000 students this year.
How has it changed since?
In the last 10 years, there has been an increased societal understanding in the value of the type of education that we provide. More parents, teachers, and education administrators are turning their focus to financial literacy and entrepreneurship training and we are right there to provide them with easy solutions.
What more needs to be done?
We have to continue to work with educators and school administration to keep this as a key focus. It can not be a fad. Financial wellness has direct correlations to mental and physical wellness. We want to ensure that all of our young people have the tools they need to succeed in life.
How can our readers help?
JA relies on hundreds of volunteers each year to help teach and mentor our students. I encourage your readers to go to https://southern-alberta41285.thankyou4caring.org/volunteers to register as a volunteer today
Do you have any events coming up?
We run programs throughout the school year, September to June, so there is always something around the corner!
Where can we follow you?
PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity that you love?
Calgary Youth Central and Impact Society are both our neighbours and both are incredible youth serving charities!