Junior Achievement joined the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation and presenting sponsor Coca Cola for the 4th and Life High School Football Forum, focusing on preparing nearly 400 high school football players for life after football. Redskins players Vernon Davis, Anthony Lanier, Colt McCoy, and Houston Bates joined business leader JA volunteers Michael Steinitz (Robert Half), Mike Hydeck (WUSA9), and James "TaB" Patrick (retired U.S. Air Force), to touch on a variety of topics such as coping with peer pressure, staying healthy, and planning for their academic and athletic futures.
Zoree Jones, a second-generation JA student and a freshman at Patriot High School in Nokesville, Virginia, is used to giving speeches. Over the last two years, she has both delivered the winning speech at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Youth Oratorical Contest and won the Spotsylvania County (Virginia) Great Debate in 2015, among other acomplishments. So it was no wonder that Zoree wowed the JA Worldwide Board of Governors when she addressed them about her participation in the 2016 JA of Greater Washington Entrepreneurship Summit, where she received the Rising Star Award.
As we close out an incredible 2015-2016 school year, in which Junior Achievement volunteers delivered programs to over 63,000 District, Maryland, and Virginia youth, I want to share with you some advice from Junior Achievement Worldwide CEO Asheesh Advani in Inc. Magazine on 6 expert ways you can make your kids financially successful for life. It's never too early to get started.
On May 5th, we sent students from Eastern High School in Washington, D.C. to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. This was just one of many JA Job Shadow™ experiences we have coordinated with different organizations in the region. Among the students participating in the Job Shadow was Akilah Johnson, the National Winner of the 2015 Doodle4Google contest. Akilah impressed the contest judges as well as people around the world with her vibrant, artistic talent, and powerful, socially relevant content.
There's been a lot of talk recently about how to handle student loan debt, from free college, to debt forgiveness, to young adults simply skipping college. For many people, a college education will be the second largest investment they make behind owning a home, yet this decision is being made by teenagers with very little knowledge of how budgets or debt work.
Elizabeth Andrew once said, "Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart." I don't think there could be truer words written about our very own JA® volunteers.
And, as we gear up to celebrate National Volunteer Week in just a few short weeks, it's important that we here at Junior Achievement® stop to reflect on what role they play in inspiring the next generation with hope for the future.
There's no doubt that our economy continues to become increasingly more complex. Business is changing to keep pace with demand and competition, and employers are in need of a workforce that is well-equipped to evolve to meet changing needs and circumstances. While uncertainty can be challenging, 2010 Junior Achievement Essay Competition winner Adam Middleton said it best: "There is reason for hope, as the Greater Washington business community can learn from the minds of tomorrow... how this country will once again be the dominant global power."
Under the columns of the National Building Museum this December, Junior Achievement, the Greater Washington Board of Trade, and Washingtonian inducted five of our region's leaders who have done much to ensure Greater Washington remains a place where families and businesses thrive. And, listening to the reflections of Seth Goldman, Sheila Johnson, Joe Rigby, John Toups, and Scott Wilfong I was struck by the path that each of them took to find their own American Dream.
For many of our region's students, the ladder to the American Dream has become too steep to climb. Their ability to succeed is hampered by the gap between what's taught in the classroom and skills they need to succeed in the modern economy. A new Champlain College study measuring how well U.S. high schools are providing personal finance education gave nearly one-quarter of states and the District a failing grade.
By this time next week, we will be closing the books on an outstanding 2014-2015 school year, and we are just a few short months away from the opening of our second financial literacy center in the region, JA Finance Park® Prince George's County where we will inspire 9,000 Prince George's County Public School students a year.