Junior Achievement of Southern Alberta
Our Story Why We Exist
I think a lot of kids are born with an entrepreneurial mindset. We are always asking why and trying to find crafty solutions to our problems. Having an inquisitive and entrepreneurial spirit allowed me to see things in a different light growing up.
As much as I love formal education, it’s just not something that comes naturally to me. I was always the student that had to retake tests or courses. I wasn't lazy, but I still had low grades. If Junior Achievement (JA) wasn't around when I was 15 years old, I’d probably still be struggling through some traditional classes.
I found that I was learning more in JA’s Company Program than I was in the classroom. Meeting 15 peers every week to work together to start, operate, and eventually liquidate a business excited me. I knew I always wanted to make a difference through commerce, but it never really occurred to me that I can start making an impact now. The more JA exposed me to, the more I realized that I can be taken seriously.
After completing JA's Company Program, I challenged companies to temporarily hire me for an opportunity to learn and work with new mentors. I was willing to work for a bus pass.
- I completed a hand full of internships and worked tirelessly, always leading with my enthusiasm and resourcefulness. The hard work paid off and in 2014 I was named one of Canada’s top 10 entrepreneurs under 24.
With the internship experience under my belt, it was time for me to get tangible skills. I wanted to join other entrepreneurs in action. I enrolled in, and graduated from, New York’s Flatiron School’s intensive coding program for web development, on a scholarship I earned in Company Program. Now I have skills that are landing me job offers on incredible teams across the continent.
Junior Achievement has shown me that I really can shape the world we live in.
-Cassidy Roberts, Company Program Alumnus
Our Impact What We Do
Inspire and educate young Albertans to succeed in the global economy is what we do. With the engagement of community volunteers, Junior Achievement (JA) programs help to develop the entrepreneurial, financial literacy and leadership skills of youth. JA Southern Alberta currently serves Calgary, Central Alberta, Cochrane, East Central Alberta, Foothills Region, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Strathmore and their surrounding communities.
- Belief in the boundless potential of young people.
- Commitment to the principles of market based economics and entrepreneurship.
- Passion for what we do and honesty, integrity and excellence in how we do it.
- Respect for the talents, creativity, perspectives, and backgrounds of all individuals.
- Belief in the power of partnership and collaboration.Conviction in the educational and motivational impact of relevant, hands-on learning.
OUR LONG TERM ASPIRATION: To be recognized by businesses, educators and policymakers around the world as the premier organization for inspiring and preparing young people around the world to become successful, contributing members of the global society, and for uniting people of all nations around the common goals of creating jobs, building stable economies, and providing higher standards of living.
OUR RESULTS (2014-2015):
- Over 28,000 students were inspired to find their entrepreneurial spirit;
- Several exciting new initiatives were launched; we piloted a new program: The Entrepreneurial Artist - to help young artists develop the skills they need to grow a sustainable career in the arts; began work on The Entrepreneurial Trades - entrepreneurship and financial literacy skills development for Trades pathway students
- Another program in development is to bring financial literacy and entrepreneurship training to aboriginal youth on reserve. This program, in partnership with the Future Aboriginal Business Leaders Symposium (FABLS) will offer culturally relevant JA programs to Treaty 7 students in southern Alberta.
Our Programs How We Do It
JA Southern Alberta (JASA) delivers eight programs in southern Alberta. Each one is developed in partnership with curriculum developers from Canadian school boards and has direct links with the Alberta Education curriculum. Junior Achievement (JA) programs are designed to impact the three pillars of students success:
- Financial Literacy: Financial independence, home ownership, and retirement are increasingly out of reach. JA answers with real world training in budgeting, spending, investing, and responsible use of credit.
- Work Readiness: High youth unemployment puts the financial future of an entire generation at risk. JA provides skill-building opportunities that enable young people to find meaningful productive careers.
- Entrepreneurship: JA promotes economic growth with programs that spark the entrepreneurial spirit and teach the practical day-to-day skills required to run a viable long-term business.
In addition to offering our core programs, we continue to develop exciting new program initiatives. In 2014/15, in cooperation with the Calgary Board of Education, we conducted our second pilot version of the JA Entrepreneurial Artist and started work on JA's Entrepreneurial Trades Program, a unique interactive online offering to teach entrepreneurial and financial literacy to Trades pathway students. In partnership with the Future Aboriginal Business Leaders Symposium (FABLS), we also developed and piloted a series of Aboriginal financial literacy programs to students attending Treaty 7 Reserve schools.
Our Requests What You Can Do
We all have a desire and ability to inspire to help our youth succeed. JA Southern Alberta delivers programs to over 28,000 youth in southern Alberta, annually. Help us and ensure we continue to reach thousands of youth. Donate your time. Donate your talent. Donate your treasure!
VOLUNTEER – Individually or as a Group: Volunteers are the backbone of JA Southern Alberta. We required over 1,800 volunteers annually to deliver programs in and outside the classroom. Volunteers make learning fun by using games and multimedia to boost students’ self-confidence, and help them apply the lessons to their daily lives. Volunteer webpage: http://southern-alberta41285.thankyou4caring.org/volunteer
Group volunteerism is proven to be a rewarding way to give back to the community and a great teambuilding activity for many or our company partners.
DONATE: Funded entirely by donations, the programs are made available to all schools at no charge for youth in grades 4 – 12. Your donation goes to support programs that connect schools, families, businesses, and communities and provides local youth with life changing experiences so that they become future leaders. Donation webpage: https://southern-alberta41285.thankyou4caring.org/Donations
WHAT's IN IT FOR ME?
As a JA volunteer, you’ll get a unique opportunity to inspire youth in or outside the classroom. The opportunities can include a full morning of ‘teaching:’ Grade 7 students about consumer needs vs. wants, the benefits of diversity in a workplace to Grade 8’s, or how to budget to pay for a post-secondary education to a Grade 9 class. The after school option, gives volunteers an opportunity to mentor groups of high school students over 20 weeks, as they start, operate and liquid a business of their own. Students value the time spent with volunteers the most!
WHY SHOULD I BOTHER?
Volunteering with JA Southern Alberta is a chance for you to work on your leadership, instructional and public speaking skills AND inspire youth to make informed decisions about their futures. Getting involved with JA programs as a group offers: a great teambuilding exercise, exposure for your company, and a chance to give back to the community.