AT&T Inspires JA Students this Summer

This week Junior Achievement of Central Texas with African American Youth Harvest Foundation were able to team up to take a group of students to visit AT&T and participate in their Aspire program. This program serves to inspire students to reach their full potential, learn about what it takes in the working world and receive mentorship from AT&T employees. While on site students were able to tour the facility and learn more about all of the jobs that are available, as well as experience the unique and fun culture in the office.

Students were able to shadow different departments throughout the day to experience what a day in the life of an AT&T employee feels like. Human resources pitched in by helping the students craft their resume and shared their inside tips and tricks for job hunting and interviewing.This is a chance for students to see what opportunities lay in their own back yards, and hopefully gain some insight into what it takes to land the job and be a great employee.

JA is so thankful for our partnership with AT&T and that they are so open to share their wonderful office and experience with us. Thank you for helping inspire and build the future of Central Texas.  

Local JA Company is off to Washington DC to Compete at the National Student Leadership Conference

ONZ, a JA Company, from Round Rock High School has been selected as one of 15 teams to compete at the Junior Achievement National Student Leadership Summit (NSLS) in Washington, D.C.!

On June 18th, the students traveled to the nation’s capital to compete with teen entrepreneurs from across the United States for the top honor of JA Company of the Year, and college scholarships totaling $35,000.

Companies must demonstrate their business acumen, creativity and entrepreneurial thinking in a competitive environment on a national stage—showcasing their companies to Members of Congress and business leaders. Stay tuned to hear more about their trip and their experience!

Lawrel Andry wins the EY Young Entrepreneur of the Year Scholarship

“Entrepreneurs are the driving force behind growth and positive change, and at EY we believe it is vital to help enable our future generation of innovators,” (Randy Cain, Vice Chair and Southwest Region Managing Partner, Ernst & Young LLP, and JA USA board member.)

This year, more than 350 local teens started, capitalized and ran real businesses through the JA Company Program with mentorship from local business leaders. These companies provided services and sold products online, in retail outlets and in their communities. With impressive sales, successful stock offerings to outside investors, invitations to local and national pitch competitions -- and their fair share of mistakes and pivots, these teens learned first hand the incredible hard work and resilience required to be an entrepreneur.

From this group of hundreds of local teen entrepreneurs, Ernst & Young selected Lawrel Andry from Cedar Ridge High School in Round Rock ISD as the winner of this years Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. 

Lawrel became an entrepreneur as a high school junior. Through the JA Company Program, she started Raider DuraCables- a company that manufactures and sells high quality phone and electronic cables reinforced to prevent material fatigue. Her company was invited to pitch at the FedEx Junior Business Challenge during Dell MatchPlay. Lawrel led her team’s pitch in front of Andy Roddick, Pat Perez and the founders of William Murray Golf and Lucky Penny. Quickly she realized the competition was fierce and it inspired her to work even harder. DuraCables was invited to pitch at 1 Million Cups- going toe to toe with other startups. Lawrel’s company won the Innovation Award at the Round Rock Entrepreneurship showcase.

JA Board Chair Joe Cestari said, “Lawrel is an entrepreneur who already thinks like an executive. She’s quick on her feet and articulates her vision with confidence and clarity. JA knows investing in people like Lawrel will fuel Austin’s capacity for innovation.”

Lawrel’s message to up and coming entrepreneurs is, “to always persevere, and do it the right way. Remember genuine connections and relationships are your biggest accomplishments so always be kind to others. Be professional and keep high standards for yourself but remember, everyone is human and imperfection is okay. Most importantly, be humble and never...ever attempt to give up learning because it is vital to survival and success.

Congratulations, Lawrel. We applaud your initiative, risk taking and willingness to break the mold. EY and JA are honored to invest in your future!

Round Rock's First JA Entrepreneurship Showcase a Success

On Thursday, April 5th,  JA in partnership with the Round Rock Chamber and Round Rock ISD, co-hosted the first annual RRISD Entrepreneurship Showcase. The showcase featured the five student-led companies that were launched during the 2017-2018 school year and provided an opportunity for students to deliver a final executive summary of their company's performance to their peers and the community.

Prior to the 2017-2018 school year, RRISD high school students had access to only one semester of entrepreneurship education. With an expansion in offerings, high school students now have access two semesters of entrepreneurship education and are able to participate in the JA Company Program that provides them with the skills and tools to launch their own companies.

Through this expansion with Round Rock ISD and a partnership with the Round Rock Chamber Junior Achievement has been able to serve over 100 high school students with entrepreneurship programming. 

Congratulations to our RRISD Entrepreneurship Showcase winners:

  • Global Connection Award- Stony Pop from Stony Point High School 
  • Innovative Product Award- Dura Cables from Cedar Ridge High School 
  • Know Your Market Award- Point Attire from Stony Point High School 
  • Outstanding Marketing Award- StickED from McNeil High School 
  • Social Impact Award- ONZ from Round Rock High School

Thank you to our Guest Judges:

Finally, thank you to our teachers who opened their classrooms and went on this crazy adventure with us. You have been the greatest support system for their students, and volunteers through the ups and downs of running a business. Thank you so much for allowing us to work with you and your students, we cannot say enough about how hard you work and how amazing you are. Thank you to Diane Wedig, Vera Cruz, Tiffanie Harrison and Bob Moliski. 

We also want to take this time to thank our wonderful JA volunteers as well. These community members have volunteered countless hours to deliver the JA Company program to their classes, answer emails, help sort out bank accounts, you name it! They are the best mentors and sounding boards that we could ask for to lead this program. Thank you for all of your dedication and support, without you JA would be nothing. Bill Taylor, Dennis Menendez and Mark Richardson.

EPIC Office Hours for JA Company Program Students at the Capital Factory

On April 4th Notley, EO of Austin & Capital Factory hosted EPIC Office Hours for local teen entrepreneurs. JA Company Program Students  came to the Capital Factory to discuss their business ideas with entrepreneurs who have built businesses with annual revenue of $1 million or more and/or secured funding of $2 million or more. In addition to networking with mentors & influencers each company had lightning round learning sessions with 15 minutes of high-quality mentorship with some of Austin’s most successful entrepreneurs, top figures, and investors.

Students were able to come with their business idea and product and discuss specific hurdles they were encountering or seek advice on how to run their business. Every company left with a list of useful action items to work on to make their company better and more competitive. 

Thank you to our mentors who took the time to work with this up and coming generation of entrepreneurs:

Travis High School hosts IPO Days for their JA Companies

This week on March 28th and 29th there was an under the radar public offering.

Students participating in the JA Company Program at Travis High School hosted their first IPO Days. During their class periods six JA Companies pitched their business to local business leaders in hopes of raising the funding necessary for their products to get off the ground.  This event gave our students the opportunity to interact and communicate with business people from the community, practice their pitch and presentation skills, as well as opens an opportunity to raise capital for their companies.

With a wide array of products, from bracelets and t-shirts to earphone holders and board games, there was a company for every interest. Not only were students given the opportunity to pitch their company to the public, they also received feedback and guidance on some of the aspects of their company that they were having difficulties with. At the end of these two days we are happy to report that all companies have reached their fundraising goal and are ready to take the next step in creating their companies!

FactSet and Financial Literacy at Travis High School

Travis High School students are learning about financial literacy and putting it to use thanks to FactSet's support and volunteers. FactSet employees are teaching students about financial literacy through JA Personal Finance, JA it's My Business, as well as helping mentor them through the financial steps they encounter while running their business through the JA Company program. By working with these student they are helping to build the financial cornerstones that will help them become more financially literate today, and use their know how in their future. 

JA helps students find skills and talents within themselves that they never knew they had. For many students, JA is a life changing experience. It opens their minds to what can be possible in their lives. -Debra McClure, Teacher

Through these programs students immediately see the value in learning things like spending money wisely, budgeting, understanding credit and being a smart consumer because it is applicable to their life outside of school. We thank FactSet for volunteering to teach these students about being financially literate and helping us to empower the future. 

I know that these students learned something that they can use on a daily basis, and I realized that I learned a bit as well. -Bill Finnerty, FactSet Volunteer

JA Companies to Compete in the FedEx Junior Business Challenge

On March 20th, five JA Companies will compete in the FedEx Junior Business Challenge at Dell Match Play. All 5 entrepreneurial teams are a part of the JA Company Program that teaches students how to start and run a business with the guidance of a local entrepreneur.

The FedEx Junior Business Challenge, an extension of the JA Company Program, serves as a platform to provide select JA students the opportunity to showcase their business company concepts at designated PGA TOUR tournaments this season. At the event, JA students will pitch their team’s business concept to a panel of judges consisting of a PGA TOUR player and a variety of local business leaders.  The panel will evaluate each team’s business pitch and select one JA Company from the tournament to move onto the FedEx Junior Business Challenge Finals in September at the TOUR Championship in Atlanta.  The final companies will then compete for the chance to earn a $75,000 donation for their local JA chapter on behalf of FedEx. 

Check out their companies below and wish them luck!

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Raider

Dura-Cables

Raider Dura-cables is a JA Company at Cedar Ridge High School. Raider Dura-cables uses a unique process that repairs and prevents material fatigue by reinforcing phone and computer cables before or just after they break.  Our process reinforces your charger and headphone cables at their most vulnerable spots by absorbing and distributing stress.

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EHO Inc.

EHO, Inc. is a JA company at Travis Early College High School. EHO, Inc. manufactures cute earphone holder organizers that also double as an adorable keychain. EHO’s goal is to end the problem of tangled ear buds once while also giving back to the community.

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Hope Goals

Hope Goals is a JA company at Travis Early College High School. The mission of Hope Goals is to give soccer balls to children around the globe who can’t afford them. Many children in poor countries make soccer balls out of plastic bags and string. Hope Goals wants to help make a difference in the world by providing real soccer balls to these children so that everyone can enjoy the game of Futbol. 

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ONZ

ONZ is a JA Company at Round Rock High School. Our vision is to create a thriving clothing line to provide the ability to support forgotten causes. We work to make fashionable and comfortable products while creatively impacting the world.

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Wishirts

 Wishirts is a JA company at Travis Early College High School. The mission of Wishirts is to create t-shirts that people can wish on to make the world a better place.

Local Students Spend the Day at AT&T for JA Job Shadow

Whats better than a field trip the day before spring break?

On March 9th students from Bertha Sadler Means Young Women's Leadership Academy got to spend the day at AT&T Aspire learning about career readiness while gaining mentorship from AT&T employees. This program serves to open the door to students and show them the possibilities that surround them and the steps they can begin taking to achieve their dreams. 

Throughout the course of the day the girls talked with employees and learned about the different jobs and responsibilities at AT&T. They learned about cover letters and began building their perfect resume, and got tips on interviewing skills. In addition they worked together as a team to practice their persuasion and  sales techniques. 

I learned that a first impression can form within 2 seconds and that your resume can make a good impression for you and really affect if you get the job or not. My favorite part of today was visiting AT&T and seeing how they do things here and what a community they have at their office. -Naya

We want to thank AT&T for hosting our JA Job Shadow, supporting our students and helping them step out of their comfort zones to learn new skills. 

FactSet and JA Central Texas Team Up

FactSet and Junior Achievement will bring more financial literacy programs to local students in Austin.

Through their new national partnership, FactSet, a financial data and software company, will  use their expertise to help local students learn more about owning their future. FactSet will deliver programs to promote financial literacy among students in Austin that align with their corporate goals and footprint. 

With JA alumni at the helm nationally and locally, they are getting to give back to an organization that they learned from and see what it is like in front of the class. JA of Central Texas is excited for this new partnership and the opportunity to reach even more students in the Austin area.  

Join us for JA's 2018 Program Kickoff Lunch

 Imagine Your Team Here....

Imagine Your Team Here....

Would you like to be part of a group of leaders, heroes, and energizers and learn how to  expand and enhance your organization's involvement with JA?  By encouraging colleagues and friends to learn more about inspiring kids through JA, you can empower them to step out of their normal routines and make a positive difference in our community. 

Please join us on January 18th from 11:30-1:00 for our 2018 program kickoff lunch. During this time you will meet others who coordinate JA at their firm, and learn more about upcoming JA opportunities- inside and outside the classroom. We will also be sharing best practices and hosting a Q&A for a great start to the new year.  

You are invited to

2018 Program Kickoff Lunch

Thursday, January 18th, 2018

from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM 

Bulldog Solutions

7600 N Capital of Texas Hwy, Austin, TX 78731

JA is Expanding Entrepreneurship Programming to LBJ Early Collegiate High School thanks to A Glimmer of Hope

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A Glimmer of Hope Foundation will fund new entrepreneurship programs for 100 LBJ students in 2018. Students will complete the JA Entrepreneurship track - JA Launch Lesson, JA It's My Business and JA Company Program in 2018. The grant includes funds to support a robust summer program so that we can serve the students over multiple school years.

A typical day in a JA entrepreneurship program is anything but typical! Students will spend 60-90 minutes in a hands-on session with their JA volunteer introducing key concepts and supporting them through group work. One day students may be brainstorming possible ways to make dog toys from plastic grocery bags or misprinted t-shirts from a local company, another they may be discovering resources they have which they may have previously seen as barriers. Each week, students develop more skills and more confidence. They begin to see they have value, that all work is honorable, that their community cares about them as individuals - understanding their dreams and helping them reach their potential.

We are very thankful for this investment to expand our JA entrepreneurship programs, and can't wait to begin serving the next generation of entrepreneurs at LBJ Early Collegiate High School. 

The girls of Bertha Sadler Means YWLA take over the Capital Factory!

Automatic pet feeders, personal styling apps and flying shoes were just a few of the ideas pitched at the E2 Intensive held at Capital Factory by the eighth grade students from Bertha Sadler Means Young Women's Leadership Academy. These young women participated in the six week program JA It's My Business! at their school which culminated in this special opportunity to work with professional women to perfect their pitch and participate in a pitch competition at the E2 Intensive. The E2 Intensive is part of the ongoing special program E2: Entrepreneurship & Empowerment for Young Women that was launched last spring. The E2 program is an opportunity for young women to have the Austin entrepreneur experience while networking with inspiring and diverse professional female role models, empowering them with self-confidence in their own abilities. These young ladies now join the over 5,000 students in the Austin area that participated in JA programs last year, of which 350 students started their own businesses. This event is one of many during the month of November in celebration of National Entrepreneurship Month sponsored by EY.

JACT Wins National JA Innovation Award

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JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT OF CENTRAL TEXAS WINS NATIONAL JA INNOVATION AWARD

(Austin, Texas) —Today, Junior Achievement USA and The Hartford announced that Junior Achievement of Central Texas is the recipient of the JA Innovation Award. The JA Innovation Award was established by The Hartford to reward JA Areas which have effectively implemented the JA Company Program® in an innovative way that has significantly increased the number of students reached and that can be replicated by other JA Areas.  JA of Central Texas was one of two JA Areas from a field of 20 to receive a $25,000 award presented by The Hartford during Junior Achievement’s Global Leadership Conference in Atlanta on July 20, 2017.  

“Innovation is a key part of the JA Company of the Year program, which provides young people with business and financial skills that empower them to be successful,” said Diane Cantello, vice president of Corporate Sustainability for The Hartford. “At The Hartford, we strive to make a positive difference in the lives of millions of individuals by building safe, strong and successful communities through our philanthropic investments.”

The JA Company Program unlocks the innate ability in high school students to fill a need or solve a problem in their community by launching a business venture and unleashing their entrepreneurial spirit. The program focuses on helping students build and manage their business with the support of volunteers from the business community. Meeting-specific, student-friendly materials and resources increase student interaction and emphasize JA’s experiential approach to learning.

A Partnership with RRISD brings entrepreneurship opportunities for students

The Round Rock Chamber today announced a partnership with Round Rock Independent School District (RRISD) and Junior Achievement of Central Texas (JACT) to bring select entrepreneurship curriculum to four comprehensive high schools in the district. In order to prepare its next generation of business leaders, the entrepreneurship program is designed to equip youth with the positive traits associated with successful entrepreneurs, such as independence, resilience, business acumen, and more.

“RRISD has offered some level of entrepreneurship coursework in the past, but this addition to our curriculum will increase the depth and breadth of entrepreneurship education within the district,” RRISD Director of Career and Technical Education-Sherri Bonds 

The courses are being offered this school year through the RRISD Academy programs. The entrepreneurship capstone course in the marketing tract will now go from one semester to an entire year-long class during the student’s senior year.

“As the chamber continues its work to develop a rich entrepreneurial ecosystem in our community, ensuring that youth have access to this critical curriculum is a major win,”
“Junior Achievement programs have been changing lives for almost one hundred years. Their curriculum is excellent and continues to evolve to remain relevant in today’s society, and we appreciate RRISD’s willingness to embrace it.” Amy Mizcles, the chamber’s vice president of community enhancement.

Last year, the chamber launched its REV UP Round Rock community entrepreneurship strategy. One of the nine recommendations from the white paper includes cultivating K-12 partnerships to foster entrepreneurship opportunities for students. To help fill this need, JACT will bring twenty-five new volunteers to mentor students in the RRISD entrepreneurial programs. 

Local Austin Women Learn Entrepreneurial Skills

Fact: Did you know research shows that women are half as likely as men to start businesses, yet women make great entrepreneurs?

Well, the women at Dress for Success (DFS) are making strides to beat this statistic. These amazing women, who are part of the Going Places Network at DFS, recently went through the  JA Be Entrepreneurial program.  After the participants learned how to identify a market need, understand their customer base and comprehend competitive advantage, they finished up by learning how to develop a business plan for their small business!

The JA Be Entrepreneurial program was a perfect complement to DFS’s financial literacy and career readiness curriculum. And if starting a business isn’t in the immediate future for the participants, the entrepreneurship skills they learned will help them become more marketable job candidates. More and more employers are placing a high value on employees with an entrepreneurial mindset because these employees tend to be more attentive to the needs of an organization and understand both customer perceptions and ethical dilemmas more fully. 

JA and DFS have similar goals, to empower people to own their economic success. JA is looking forward to continued collaboration with DFS to help more of their clients develop entrepreneurship skills. 

Leading Austin Women Empower the Next Generation of Women at the Capital Factory

Austin area middle and high school young women took a field trip to Capital Factory Downtown on Tuesday, May 16th to learn career skills and the basics of starting a business at JACT's inaugural E2 Summit: Entrepreneurship and Empowerment for Young Women. The young ladies completed the JA It’s My Business! program by creating a product or service, designing a prototype and presenting their idea to a panel of professional judges in a pitch competition. The young women had a blast coming up with their ideas and creating a product out of a mystery box of materials!

The JA E2 Summit would not have been as successful as it was without JA’s wonderful volunteers. Over 35 professional women from the Austin community came out to lead the young participants throughout the day during the various activities.

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The young women at the E2 Summit learned about resume building and job search skills from Indeed Job Squad, and interview tips from Amy Wolfgang, founder of Wolfgang Career Coaching. Ken Downing, Senior Vice President and Fashion Director of Neiman Marcus, Skyped in to talk to the young ladies about being confident and dressing for the workplace . Downing, a JA Alumni himself, closed his fascinating speech with the following words of wisdom, "be impressive, be confident, and be strong powerful women."

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The E2 Summit concluded with a product pitch competition. The young women presented their well thought out products to the panel of judges. The judges asked the ladies challenging questions about their products or services. In the end, the judges deliberated and chose their first, second, and third place winners. All pitches were fantastic and truly displayed the hard work the young ladies put into the day. 

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Couldn’t volunteer on May 16th but still want to be involved? Opportunities are available to join the E-2 Mentor Group or to sponsor a young woman to participate in future JA programs. Contact Lauren Weronick, Director of Entrepreneurship Programs at lauren@jacentex.org or 512-710-5437.

 

E2 Summit: Entrepreneurship & Empowerment Summit for Young Women is just 3 weeks away!

Entrepreneurship & Empowerment will be in full force on May 16th at  Capital Factory! Experienced women role models will work with young women in high school, grades 9-11, to help them develop the skills they will need for career success including networking, resume preparation and interviewing prowess. In addition, these young women will be given an introduction to starting a business through the JA It's My Business! program, with each session building toward a product-pitch competition at the end of the day. 

After the E2 Summit, participants will have a range of opportunities to build upon their Summit experience. Options for mentoring, business workshops, and even running a start-up company through the JA Company Program will be made available to all young women who wish to continue learning and growing throughout the year. 

With the generous support of Ernst & Young, the E2 Summit will be an incredible opportunity for dozens of local young women to have the Austin entrepreneur experience while meeting and networking with inspiring professional female role models outside of school. 

Are you interested in helping young women own their economic future?  Women volunteers are needed on May 16th to help with a wide range of activities including set up, logistics, pitch coaching and judging, as well as teaching the JA It's My Business! program curriculum. Sign up here to volunteer.

Can't volunteer on May 16th but still want to be involved? Opportunities are available to  join the E-2 Mentor Group or to sponsor a young woman to participate in future JA programs. Contact Lauren Weronick, Director of Entrepreneurship Programs at lauren@jacentex.org or 512-710-5437.

The E2 Summit Chairs are Maren Miller of Ernst & Young and Liz Hocker, a JA of Central Texas Board Member.

Ernst & Young is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services with an unwavered commitment to building a better working world.

 

JA Teen Entrepreneurs Steal The Show at JA Launch Lessons Breakfast!

“I was bullied when I was in middle school and I was always sad when I went home. Our product helps to spread kindness and love."

“Phones need friends, too. Our product helps kids keep track of their phones."

"If my sister had an expandable phone grip...she could manage to hold onto her phone which would have resulted in a not so shattered screen."

It was clear each group of teen entrepreneurs knew their products inside and out. They could easily state the benefits to help compel us to buy their product and invest in their business. An excellent start on the entrepreneurial journey…

But today, these kids took a huge step forward because they learned even more about what being an entrepreneur is about – community. Entrepreneurs give each other advice, ask the hard questions and provide support. And, thanks to the incredibly engaged audience of local entrepreneurs and business leaders, the teens got a big dose of that today.  Each teen group left Industrious this morning with an offer of a mentoring relationship or follow-on support and several thought provoking questions to consider.

And the adults? Well, I think many of us left thinking about the questions posed this morning by Lauren Weronick, Director of Entrepreneurship Programs for JA of Central Texas. “Who inspired you? How can YOU be that person for the next generation of Austin entrepreneurs?”

 Interested? Contact Lauren here.

Now, a bit about each of the teen companies pitched this morning...

No Bullying Worldwide sells bracelets to help raise awareness about bullying and to help teens and bystanders speak out and feel safe in their environment. 10% of their profits go to Austin YMCA to support anti-bullying education.

SnapTurtle is a magnetic holder for your phone.  For each SnapTurtle sold, the company gives one dollar to the Turtle Island Restoration Network in Galveston Texas,  a top ocean conservation and marine protection organization that works to save sea turtles and other endangered marine life.

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HOT SOCKET is a trendsetting Online Smartphone Accessories Store, offering our first-rate products and exceptional customer service to shoppers from the comfort of their own homes. They offer customization of the product for a small upcharge.

 

Volunteers from Charles Schwab teach Financial Literacy at Burnet Middle School

Alison Welch and Omar Richardson both work at Charles Schwab.  Their passion for teaching financial literacy to teens shines bright. This spring, they are teaching JA Economics for Success at Burnet Middle School in Austin. Here’s what they have to say about volunteering for JA.

Tell us about the experience overall.  What did you like most about teaching JA Economics for Success? 

Allison: My experience was great. The thing I like the most is knowing the long-term impact I’ll have on those kids and the support I offer the teacher.  Financial literacy is something that should be shared with everyone of all ages!!

Omar: I had a great experience teaching Economics for Success with Junior Achievement this year. The kids were very engaged and I feel like the real-life application of the exercises really facilitates that.

Were there any Ah-Ha moments you observed the students, perhaps when they made a connection or new discovery through JA?

Allison: The biggest Ah-Ha moment was when we were playing the game where the students have to figure out what they can afford versus what they want with a salary they are given.  What I thought the students would pick (mansions and expensive cars) was not the case for most of the students.  I learned that these kids are aware of the resources available to them and what it takes to achieve, or obtain the things, they want.  This is not just about financial literacy- but overall success in work and life.

Omar:  I was pretty surprised with how much familiarity the kids already had with some of the concepts (e.g. credit/debit, credit scores, insurance) which made it a lot easier to take a deeper dive into more practical applications/scenarios. I was also able to have some small group interactions with some of the students where I was able to answer questions concerning my college experience as well as my career progression.

Anything else you want to say?

Allison: My teacher was very hands on and was genuinely interested in the program, the kids, and me! 

Omar: Overall, I had a wonderful time with JA at Burnet this year and I’m looking forward to doing it again next year.