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Junior Achievement looking for local assistance

By Staff | Mar 30, 2010

Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida, Inc. is advancing the “Financial Planning Profession in our Community.” The programs that are taught in K-12 are unique in that they utilize volunteers from the business and education world to present the materials being taught. Thus, these people bring real life experience into the classroom, something that sets Junior Achievement apart from other programs.

The subject matter being taught is business and economics, subjects that are not taught in our school’s normal curriculums.

My purpose in writing these articles is twofold. First, and foremost, many people in our counties are not really familiar with what Junior Achievement is all about. Second, the current economic problems facing us all are also being felt by the many non-profit organizations that are trying to serve our communities.

Since we rely on volunteers from Business and Academia to teach the K-12 programs, and since companies have had to cut back on manpower, it is becoming more difficult to find new volunteers. To present the programs, there are also costs involved, both for the materials used in teaching the classes and in the costs of supporting the office that runs these programs.

So, to be blunt, the message here is “CAN YOU HELP?” We currently run programs in schools in the three counties. This year alone, we will reach 9,500 students. The program was begun here in 1975 and to date we have taught 118,000 students. However, we have many more requests to bring our programs to schools not yet covered than we can honor.

Many of you reading this article have kids enrolled in schools where Junior Achievement is being taught. Many more have kids going to schools where there are no such programs. I assume that you would prefer that your children could also avail themselves of this additional learning experience.

Well, this is something where you can make a contribution. If your children’s school(s) do not have Junior Achievement, volunteer your services or find friends whose kids attend that school and get them to volunteer. If you can create a business sponsorship that will help ensure the fulfillment of the program and also make a financial contribution, so much the better.

Your children represent this country’s future. Those who have been exposed to the classes taught by Junior Achievement are better equipped to succeed in college and ultimately in the business world. Our chapter initiated a program entitled “The CEO Academy” and this activity is a testimonial to what Junior Achievement accomplishes. If you are interested in supporting this effort, a copy of a DVD that was taken at last year’s academy is available so you can see for yourself the kind of learning experience that kids are missing.

For those of you who are familiar with Junior Achievement and especially those of you who have kids in these classes or who are already volunteers, you can be the most influential ambassadors for this worthy cause. Talk to your friends, your coworkers, and your neighbors and get them involved. Spread the word in your company to see if you can convince coworkers to get involved. You will be able to tell them why you are “selling” Junior Achievement based on your involvement. I can assure you that your efforts to do this will reap wonderful results. We are counting on you to be our ambassadors.

And for those of you learning about this fine organization for the first time, please try to learn more about it by contacting the Junior Achievement office to receive more detailed information. You will be doing your kids and the kids of your friends and neighbors a real service by getting involved.

Everyone I know who has been a Junior Achievement supporter becomes so enthused with what we accomplish so hopefully many of the readers will want to also get involved one way or another.

To contact Junior Achievement, please call 239-225-2590 or visit their Web site at www.jaswfl.org.