Charitable Choices: Junior Achievement of Southern Alberta

Our Charitable Choices feature this week is Junior Achievement, based in Southern Alberta. JA is a global leader in educating youth about financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship in order to give students the skills and confidence they need to become leaders of tomorrow.

Junior Achievement
Photo Credit: Junior Achievement Alberta

Describe your charity/non-profit in a few sentences.

JA programs are delivered by dedicated volunteers. They bring their professional experiences into the classroom to help students connect program concepts with real-life situations. Volunteers use a mix of hands-on activities, discussions and digital learning to engage students and ensure they retain and use what they learn.

With their help, students gain the knowledge and confidence they need to define their personal success and go after their dreams.

Everything we do is funded by our generous donors, who provide us with the critical funding needed to develop and deliver our programs, train volunteers and offer scholarships to Canada’s future leaders.

JA’s impact happens in three stages: transforming, delivering, and achieving. First, JA provides a transformational event that alters students’ ambitions and encourages them to do more with their lives. Then, JA gives students the skills and confidence they need to achieve great things. Finally, students use those skills to reach their highest potential.

What problem does it aim to solve?

Lack of financial literacy and a lack of business skills among young people. These are critical skills that are not taught in existing Alberta education curriculum and we aim to provide this training and information from a non-biased sourced.

When did you start/join it?

JA has been operating since 1960 and I joined the organization in 2010.

What made you want to get involved?

I have a background in business and I really believe that JA is teaching some critical skills that are important for all young people, regardless of the career path they choose.

What was the situation like when you started?

In 2010 when I got involved, JA was teaching about 750 classes to 15000 young people. This year, we are poised to deliver more than 1400 programs to close to 35,000 young people and the demand for this type of education is growing exponentially

How has it changed since?

We have doubled in our student reach and branched out to some areas of specialization. We now offer a suite of programs specifically for Indigenous Youth.

What more needs to be done?

There is a huge demand for financial literacy and business education for students in K-12. Teachers are not always poised to teach this type of curriculum, but they always welcome us into their classrooms with open arms. We need more volunteers from the community to come on board as volunteers to help us meet the need for these programs.

How can our readers help?

We would love to have your readers volunteer. JA provides all of the lesson plans, a 2 hour training on how to deliver the programs, and the volunteer experience itself is usually just a morning in a classroom. Anyone can do it and it is only about 6 hours of your time from training to the classroom.

Do you have any events coming up?

To see a full list of volunteer opportunities for the new year go to:

Where can we follow you?

Go to @JASouthernAlberta on FB, LI, Twitter, and IG or

PAY IT FORWARD: What is another Calgary charity that you love?

We are right across the hall from Youth Central in the Kahanoff Building. We serve many of the same young people and we love the work that they do to get young people engaged in the community