Junior Achievement of Greater Kansas City https://jagkc.org/ Inspire and prepare young people to succeed Wed, 01 May 2024 17:24:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.5.5 https://jagkc.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/cropped-JA_Symbol_Full_Color-PNG-32x32.png Junior Achievement of Greater Kansas City https://jagkc.org/ 32 32 Junior Achievement of Greater Kansas City 2024 Business Hall of Fame Laureates Announced https://jagkc.org/junior-achievement-of-greater-kansas-city-2024-business-hall-of-fame-laureates-announced/ https://jagkc.org/junior-achievement-of-greater-kansas-city-2024-business-hall-of-fame-laureates-announced/#respond Wed, 01 May 2024 17:24:13 +0000 https://jagkc.org/?p=17219 The JA Business Hall of Fame will honor visionaries and changemakers vital to the growth of Kansas City’s economic and entrepreneurial landscape.

Kansas City, KS: 2024 marks the 24th year of the Junior Achievement of Greater Kansas City (JAKC) Business Hall of Fame. Each year, a cohort of accomplished business and community leaders are honored with this signature award.

JAKC is pleased to announce the 2024 JA Business Hall of Fame inductees:

Lisa Ginter, CommunityAmerica Credit Union

Lisa Ginter is a celebrated leader in Kansas City as both the CEO of CommunityAmerica Credit Union and an influential figure in the business, civic, and philanthropic community. With a mission to help members achieve financial peace of mind at every stage of life, she reflects the values and skillsets JAKC aspires to instill in every student they impact.

Tyler Nottberg, U.S. Engineering

Tyler Nottberg is Chairman & CEO of U.S. Engineering Company Holdings. Along with displaying exemplary leadership qualities, Nottberg serves on numerous philanthropic boards across Kansas, Missouri, and Colorado to raise awareness about the importance of education and health in the community. In 2011, Nottberg co-founded the nonprofit, Aligned, to engage business leaders in state-wide education policy reform in Kansas and Missouri.

Vu Radley, MADE MOBB

As the Co-Founder and Creative Director of MADE MOBB, Vu Radley exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit in the ever-growing streetwear scene. Radley consistently supports the community by partnering with local businesses, hosting community events, and establishing a hub of support and knowledge for young, local creatives.

“We are thrilled to honor this year’s inductees, whose attributes and skills represent the values Junior Achievement strives to instill in every student we serve,” says Megan Sturges Stanfield, President and CEO of JA of Greater Kansas City. “These esteemed laureates not only excel within their industries but also embody an entrepreneurial ethos, showcasing exceptional leadership qualities that serve as role models for the next generation.”

Laureates are inspiring entrepreneurs who have significantly influenced the Kansas City business ecosystem and bolstered the region’s economic vitality. They epitomize qualities such as outstanding business acumen, visionary thinking, and dedicated community involvement. Their achievements serve as inspiration for local youth. The 2024 inductees join a group of prominent business leaders and entrepreneurs, including Henry Bloch, Ewing Marion Kauffman, Joyce Hall, Jeanette Prenger, Darcy Howe, CiCi Rojas and Oscar Monterroso, and Chris and Angie Long.

The laureates will be recognized at the annual JAKC Business Hall of Fame event on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2023, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at JA BizTown®, presented by CommunityAmerica Credit Union, located inside the JA Youth Learning Lab, presented by the Mallouk Family Foundation (2842 W 47th Ave., Kansas City, KS 66103).

To celebrate these storied careers at the JAKC Business Hall of Fame event, please contact Sarah Drake (sdrake@jagkc.org) to learn about sponsorship opportunities or to purchase tickets.

For full laureate bios and headshots, please contact JAKC.

About Junior Achievement of Greater Kansas City

Junior Achievement of Greater Kansas City’s (JAKC) mission is to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy. Since 1955, JAKC has been empowering youth to fulfill their greatest potential, working alongside school districts, businesses, and the community. Serving over 850,000 youth since inception, the organization continues their promise to Kansas City youth, to transform the educational ecosystem and prepare generations of at-risk youth for postsecondary education; increase economic mobility through the development of necessary 21st century job skills to succeed in a chosen career; and empower youth to challenge the cycle of poverty in their homes and neighborhoods. As the only organization of its kind in the region, JAKC provides comprehensive programs that equip youth with competencies and skills necessary to succeed beyond the classroom. For more information, visit www.jagkc.org.

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Stories of Impact: Celebrating National Volunteer Month https://jagkc.org/stories-of-impact-celebrating-national-volunteer-month/ https://jagkc.org/stories-of-impact-celebrating-national-volunteer-month/#respond Thu, 04 Apr 2024 18:51:54 +0000 https://jagkc.org/?p=17126 Join Junior Achievement of Greater Kansas City this April as we celebrate National Volunteer Month! Volunteers are the cornerstone of our mission to help students build a solid foundation of crucial life skills to prepare them for choice-filled futures.

Our volunteers mentor and engage with students, providing them with knowledge on entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and career readiness. They share their personal and professional experiences with students, in turn, bringing learning to life and opening their eyes to the possibilities of their futures. We are so grateful for all our volunteers who make a positive impact and inspire youth across Kansas City!

Recently, we sat down with a few of our volunteers for a Q&A session. Keep reading to learn more about their experiences and what motivates them to give back to their communities.

Interested in volunteering? JAKC provides many opportunities for volunteers with different skillsets and availability. From assisting in the classroom to helping onsite at JA BizTown®, presented by CommunityAmerica Credit Union, there’s sure to be an opportunity perfect for you! Visit our volunteer page to learn more about our volunteer opportunities in Kansas City.


Dee Dee Eccles

How have you volunteered with JAKC?

I have been volunteering with Junior Achievement in classroom teaching since my oldest son was in third grade. I taught his class and was hooked for sure! That was in 2007. I then expanded to teaching K-3 curriculum to various schools over the years to the present, 2024.

What is your favorite thing about volunteering with us?

The students’ enthusiasm for the curriculum of Junior Achievement and the fun and informative ways I can adapt as a former teacher to stimulate the kids and keep them interested.

How do you think you make an impact in students’ lives by volunteering?

I know I made an impact on the students, especially since I have concentrated most of my volunteering to one specific school and when they see me they remember some of the lessons from the previous year. I hope they remember good money choices and how to use money wisely. Parents over the years have stated that their children love JA and talk about the concepts at home.

What would you say to someone who’s thinking about volunteering?

If you have a passion for teaching students fun and creative ways of instruction to teach money and entrepreneurship, JA is for you. The materials are fresh and easy to use, I only wish I would get to teach more sessions. I always feel I need more time to give to the classes and watch them grow in their concepts!

Anything else you would like to add?

I always leave my classes smiling and excited to return again and again. Children are works in progress and it’s fun to watch them grow their ideas. I will continue to work with JA for as long as I can.

Jorge Soberón-Hernández

How have you volunteered with JAKC?

I do JA BizTown once a month, either by myself or with my colleagues from Arvest. At times, the JA BizTown team will inform me in advance about Spanish speaking students attending BizTown, and I will work individually with the kids to make sure that they absorb the knowledge of the experience while having a blast doing it!

What is your favorite thing about volunteering with us?

Observing how the students connect the dots about running a business and paying off their loan.

How do you think you make an impact in students’ lives by volunteering?

Particularly, with the Hispanic students, by mentoring them. Representation matters, and it is important they can interact with someone that looks like them and can answer questions about his college experience and professionally career. It creates a sense of belonging and aspiration.

What motivates you to give back to the community?

Making sure that we are doing everything we can to educate our students well, ensuring that they will become our future leaders, successful business owners, and engaged community members.

What would you say to someone who’s thinking about volunteering?

To do it! Aside from being a noble activity to give back to your community, there are several studies indicating the vast personal (health) benefits from volunteering, it makes you happy!

I really like this quote: “I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” – Rabindranath Tagore

Why is it important for others to volunteer in their communities?

Because by doing so, you are helping, improving, building and/or healing your community and those who need it the most. Service to others, practicing kindness and empathy are cornerstones of every community.

Patrick Nelson

How have you volunteered with JAKC?

I have volunteered for several school events, career fairs and classroom.

What is your favorite thing about volunteering with us?

Having the opportunity to share the aviation industry with the youth.

How do you think you make an impact in students’ lives by volunteering?

The engagement with the students just gives an opportunity to additional career options not usually spoken about at the dinner table.

What motivates you to give back to the community?

I am an inner-city kid who eventually found my way into a great career.

What would you say to someone who’s thinking about volunteering?

The only way to affect change is to connect with the youth of our future.

Why is it important for others to volunteer in their communities?

Life experiences need to be shared. We may be good alone but we are great together.

Tim Lapinski

How have you volunteered with JAKC?

My first experience volunteering with JA was in 2018 and 2019 at Garfield Elementary School. We did classroom learning with the kids on entrepreneurship and exploring different professions. During COVID, I did zoom calls with classrooms as a career speaker. I have also spent time organizing volunteer days for Helzberg Diamonds at JA BizTown. I worked in many of the store fronts including Hallmark, Charlie Hustle, Price Chopper and Evergy. Recently I’ve spent time as a business coach and judge for the 3DE Program at Olathe East High School.

What is your favorite thing about volunteering with us?

I love watching how excited kids are when they visit BizTown. They spend so much time preparing for their visit and can’t wait to get started when they arrive. I also love the original ideas that come out of the students in 3DE. It so fun to watch them working as a team to solve the business case challenges.

How do you think you make an impact in students’ lives by volunteering?

Hopefully by promoting their creativity. Showing them that there are no bad ideas.

What motivates you to give back to the community?

My motivation mostly comes from knowing that I taught a student something that they can apply to their life as they continue to grow. Sometimes it’s realizing what their career goals are. Other times it’s helping them understand practical skills like budgeting, saving and paying bills.

What would you say to someone who’s thinking about volunteering?

Try it once! I promise you’ll be back!

Why is it important for others to volunteer in their communities?

Because when you volunteer, you are making a personal investment in your community. It’s not just about the service you provide, it’s also about the good feelings and emotional boost you get from doing something for others.

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Get to Know the 2024 Business Hall of Fame Laureates https://jagkc.org/get-to-know-the-2024-business-hall-of-fame-laureates/ https://jagkc.org/get-to-know-the-2024-business-hall-of-fame-laureates/#respond Mon, 01 Apr 2024 14:23:05 +0000 https://jagkc.org/?p=17062 2024 marks the 24th year of the JA Business Hall of Fame, honoring visionaries and changemakers vital to the growth of Kansas City’s economic and entrepreneurial landscape. This event sets the stage for inspiring our future leaders—young people today who will lead our city in years to come.

This year’s laureates are inspiring entrepreneurs who have significantly influenced the Kansas City business ecosystem and bolstered the region’s economic vitality. They epitomize qualities such as outstanding business acumen, visionary thinking, and dedicated community involvement. Their achievements serve as inspiration for youth across the Kansas City Metro!

Junior Achievement of Greater Kansas City is thrilled to announce the 2024 JA Hall of Fame inductees. Keep reading to learn more about these extraordinary leaders in our community!

Visit our 2024 Business Hall of Fame event page to learn more about how to become a sponsor for this event, purchase tickets, or sign up for volunteer opportunities.


Photo of Lisa Ginter, CommunityAmerica Credit Union

Lisa Ginter, CommunityAmerica Credit Union

Lisa Ginter is a celebrated leader as both the CEO of CommunityAmerica Credit Union and an influential figure in the business, civic and philanthropic community.

Lisa has served in a leadership role at CommunityAmerica since she joined the organization in 1995. Since becoming CEO in 2015, Lisa grew the Credit Union from $1.5 billion to nearly $5 billion. With a mission to help members achieve financial peace of mind at every life stage, Lisa has inspired and advanced every division and line of business at CommunityAmerica. As the Official Banking Partner of the Kansas City Chiefs and frequently named as ‘Best Place to Work,’ CommunityAmerica has become a powerhouse in Missouri and Kansas under Lisa’s leadership. She is also an advocate for credit unions on a national level, serving as the Chair of the Executive Board of Directors for CUNA (Credit Union National Association) in 2023. In 2024, Lisa will continue her leadership role and serve as the Vice Chair of the newly formed America’s Credit Unions.

Lisa’s name can often be found in both local and national headlines. She is one of only three Kansas Citians to be recognized among the ‘Top 100 Financial Executives’ by the National Business Journal and has been selected as a ‘Power 100’ honoree by the Kansas City Business Journal for multiple years. She was also named one of 435 South Magazine’s ‘50 Most Powerful People in KC.’

Lisa is a beacon of leadership in her hometown Kansas City community, where she serves as the Chair of the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. She is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Chair’s Council for Greater St. Louis Inc. Her leadership presence is also strongly felt in the education community, where she serves on the Board of Trustees at Rockhurst University and St. Michael the Archangel as Vice Chair.

In her free time, Lisa loves spending time with her family, including her grandchildren, relaxing at the lake, and cheering on local sports teams.

Photo of Vu Radley, MADE MOBB

Vu Radley, MADE MOBB

Vu Nguyen (Vu Radley) is Co-Founder and Creative Director of MADE MOBB. Established in 2013, MADE MOBB is a clothing brand based in Kansas City, Missouri. Influenced by the place they call home, MADE MOBB continues to build onto the ever growing streetwear scene in Kansas City with curated apparel drops and collaborations.

MADE MOBB has gained recognition throughout their decade in business by partnering with local businesses, hosting community events, and establishing a hub of support and knowledge for young, local creatives. MADE MOBB’s notable collaborations include: The Kansas City Chiefs, United Way, UMKC, The KC Current, QuikTrip, Gates BBQ, Shake Shack, The KC Zoo and the KC Streetcar.

MADE MOBB launched their first drop in February 2013, focusing on their love for streetwear apparel and the love for their hometown. It was a passion project to begin with but as time went by, the MADE MOBB team were able to continue dropping new product and popping up all over KC, as well as other cities, to grow the brand. In 2015 during the Royals World Series run, MADE MOBB was able to get their first wholesale account and continued to build their presence in KC through offering product via other local retailers in the city. In April 2017, MADE MOBB launched their first brick and mortar in downtown KC. They continued to sell product and throw events at this space for two years until they moved to the Crossroads in 2019. At the Crossroads flagship store they were able to acquire print machinery and begin producing products in-house. They wanted to continue to be a staple in the Crossroads, as well as First Fridays, but as the pandemic rolled in, MADE MOBB had to find ways to keep afloat during the tough times. MADE MOBB pushed forward for the following years and continued to create products and push collaborations when they landed their biggest one in January of 2022 with the Chiefs. MADE MOBB continually tries to be a staple in the city, not only with products but with events that bring the city together and collaborations with local businesses and entrepreneurs. 

Photo of Tyler Nottberg, U.S. Engineering

Tyler Nottberg, U.S. Engineering

Tyler Nottberg is Chairman & CEO of U.S. Engineering Company Holdings, an organization specializing in the complex mechanical systems that are critical to a building’s infrastructure. Headquartered in Kansas City with offices and projects throughout the nation, ENR Magazine regularly ranks U.S. Engineering as one of the Top 10 Mechanical Contractors in the United States.  Its companies design, build, maintain and manage our economy’s essential facilities, including hospitals, laboratories, data centers, educational campuses, manufacturing plants and large commercial buildings.

Tyler is the fifth generation of the Nottberg Family to lead U.S. Engineering, where he previously served as a Project Engineer, Project Manager and Vice President. Prior to joining the company, he co-founded the Legal, Economic and Regulatory Affairs practice for Gerson Lehrman Group, a financial research firm based in New York.  Before that, he worked as a Policy Analyst at The Eisenhower Institute in Washington, DC and for Senator Richard Lugar.  He serves on the Boards of Labconco, Brewery Emperial, and Ronawk.  In addition, Tyler co-founded Aligned in 2011 to engage business leaders in state-wide education policy reform in Kansas and Missouri.

He and his wife, Leigh, serve on numerous philanthropic boards across Kansas, Missouri and Colorado in order to raise awareness about the importance of education and health in the communities where they spend time. However, they are most proud of their two children, Maggie (20) and Andrew (17).

Tyler is a graduate of Middlebury College and Oxford University, where he was a Keasbey Scholar.

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Empowering Successful Futures at Faster Speeds https://jagkc.org/empowering-successful-futures-at-faster-speeds/ https://jagkc.org/empowering-successful-futures-at-faster-speeds/#respond Tue, 19 Dec 2023 20:50:35 +0000 https://jagkc.org/?p=16911 Two years ago, Junior Achievement of Greater Kansas City chose Google Fiber’s 2 Gig service and we’ve never looked back. In recognition of National Entrepreneurship Month, we’re highlighting how Junior Achievement of Greater Kansas City uses reliable, high-speed internet to help achieve our goal of empowering the next generation of professionals, leaders, and entrepreneurs.

Our work at Junior Achievement is centered on three essential pillars: work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy. We offer a bridge between classrooms and the real world, preparing students for success in an evolving career landscape. Through programs catering to K-12 students, our adaptable curriculum provides valuable resources and lessons  that aren’t part of most schools’ required curriculum. 

Technology plays a huge role in our organization’s success. The decision to switch to Google Fiber‘s 2-Gig internet two years ago was partially driven by our desire to upgrade our internet, but more importantly, we wanted to elevate the experience of our students at the Youth Learning Lab, presented by the Mallouk Family Foundation.

One of the ways we’re elevating the experience is through our signature program: JA BizTown, presented by Community America Credit Union. This is an immersive experience where students step into the shoes of professionals. In the simulation, they learn how to run their own businesses, manage finances, and hone their ability to make decisions. JA BizTown challenges the next generation of employees to solve the nuanced, real-world issues that businesses face every day in a way that they connect with at their grade level. 

Our simulation relies on a cloud-based platform, and our GFiber’s 2-Gig service allows us to ensure the technology enabling JA BizTown runs smoothly, offering a disruption-free environment for our students. With up to 100 devices running simultaneously, reliability is key to the program’s success. 

Each year, Junior Achievement of Greater Kansas City serves 20,000 students across the KC metro, nearly half of which experience capstone experiences onsite at the JA Youth Learning Lab. In addition, Junior Achievement welcomes 5,000 adult volunteers and community members onsite. We partner with more than 18 community organizations to execute our programs. In order to fulfill our mission and expand our impact, we need consistent, reliable connectivity so our programming and simulations don’t miss a beat. On a given day, we know that a dozen things could surprise us, but we have been able to count on the reliability of GFiber’s internet access.

Today, there’s so much pressure on young people to choose their career—and the options only continue to grow. Our programming, like JA BizTown or the 3DE model of education implemented at the high school level, opens their eyes to new opportunities they may not have previously considered. Our partnerships with Kansas City businesses inspire students by offering opportunities that align with their passions in unexpected ways. For instance, participants learn that they don’t have to be a center fielder to work for the Kansas City Royals. They can work in marketing, ticket sales, community outreach—the list goes on. Exposure to business mentors from the Kansas City business landscape further widens students’ perspectives, opening a world of possibilities for their choice-filled futures.

As we navigate the future of education, especially considering the challenges posed by the pandemic, community support is essential. Working with GFiber as a small business exemplifies the exact kind of collaboration needed to uplift our youth during a pivotal time in their lives. It takes all of us to collectively empower our future leaders and prepare them for success, and we’re so grateful for our supportive community.

If you’re interested in getting involved with Junior Achievement of Greater Kansas City, there are many ways to support. Volunteer your time, share your expertise, and become a mentor to a future leader. Our range of volunteer opportunities give everyone a chance to impact the lives of these students. Together, we are shaping futures, one student at a time.

This post was originally written for and posted to GFiber’s blog “Connect.”

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Kansas City Partnerships: How Junior Achievement Works with Schools and Local Businesses to Change Students’ Lives https://jagkc.org/kansas-city-partnerships-how-junior-achievement-works-with-schools-and-local-businesses-to-change-students-lives/ https://jagkc.org/kansas-city-partnerships-how-junior-achievement-works-with-schools-and-local-businesses-to-change-students-lives/#respond Tue, 28 Nov 2023 22:48:01 +0000 https://jagkc.org/?p=16721 The fifth-grade teaching team of Kristina Sink and Michelle Michalski is intimately familiar with the mission of Junior Achievement of Greater Kansas City. After all, their relationship with JAGKC dates back to 2018.

“Megan Sturges Stanfield used to come into our classroom and teach JA classes with our kids, so it all started with her. We actually got to visit JA BizTown (presented by CommunityAmerica Credit Union) while it was being constructed,” Kristina said. “Megan kept coming back, kept volunteering in our class and building relationships with our district, even after she became the President and CEO of JAGKC.”

As teachers at T.A. Edison Elementary School who have worked together for fourteen years, Kristina and Michelle have the JA BizTown preparation process down to an art form: Start daily lessons a month ahead of time, use the JA BizTown workbooks to teach their students about bank accounts, deposits, and other economics basics, and wrap up with the filling out of job applications ahead of their big day.

“It’s really fun to watch the kids who normally don’t step up really embrace their jobs as leaders and role models,” Michelle said. “At JA BizTown, we saw students finish their breaks early because they were CEOs and wanted to make sure their companies were running correctly. It helps us see a different side of them, more like mini adults than the 10 and 11 year-olds we see in class.”

This experience proves especially impactful when you take into consideration the background of many T.A. Edison students.

“With our populations and the socioeconomic circumstances in our area, most of our kids don’t know this kind of information,” Michelle said. “Many of their parents work in the hospitality sector, and some don’t even have bank accounts because of limited accessibility, so being able to explore this type of work and tap into this knowledge base is a big eye opener for them.”

Earlier this fall, Keyson was one T.A. Edison fifth grader who fully embraced every aspect of JA BizTown. So when it came time for Kristina and Michelle to choose which of their students would be invited to speak at the JA Business Hall of Fame luncheon a few short weeks later, he was top of mind.

“People flock to Keyson for his personality and his outgoing attitude. But to be honest, we were hesitant to ask him to speak because, while he has so much heart and potential, he also has a need to be the top dog which can get in the way of his efforts to be a role model,” Kristina said. “So to see him up on stage, as nervous as he was, and to see him do such an amazing job with his speaking – I hope that this sticks with him for a very long time.”

One of the most memorable moments of the 2023 Hall of Fame celebration was entirely unscripted. During his acceptance speech, Chase McAnulty, Owner and CEO of Charlie Hustle, brought Keyson back on stage in order to share the limelight and pass along some hard-earned wisdom.

“This is our third time bringing students to the luncheon, but this was the most impactful and intimate luncheon out of them all,” Kristina said. “I especially think the these specific laureates were impactful for our kiddos because they saw them as people that they can relate to. We have a lot of Hispanic students, we have a lot of soccer lovers, we have a lot of fashion and clothing fans, so all of that combined to show our students that they can really pursue whatever they want to.”

The feeling was certainly shared by Keyson, who teared up as he recounted this unscripted moment.

“I felt loved and honored to be on stage with Chase because he’s such a caring person,” Keyson said. “When I grow up, I want to be just like Chase.”

Now, this exchange – Chase’s recognition of Keyson’s potential, and the earnest young man’s visible enthusiasm – has continued to have ripple effects in the Charlie Hustle and T.A. Edison communities. Thanks to some behind-the-scenes planning from the Charlie Hustle and JAGKC teams, Kristina and Michelle’s students will be visiting the Charlie Hustle offices in December.

“The students were so excited and shocked when we told them that we’d been invited to Charlie Hustle. Their eyes lit up and they’re all just so excited to go,” Michelle said. “And the first words out of Keyson’s mouth were, ‘Will I get to see Chase again?’”

These transformational moments wouldn’t be possible without the support and generosity of those that give to Junior Achievement throughout the year. Because of our supporters, students feel more empowered to create their limitless futures, inspired to explore their entrepreneurial spirits, and informed to make sound financial decisions.

Will you join us in this season of giving to ensure more students, like Keyson, have access to opportunities? Give today.

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Sporting KC partners with 3DE by Junior Achievement to offer educational experiences for local high schools https://jagkc.org/sporting-kc-partners-with-3de-by-junior-achievement-to-offer-educational-experiences-for-local-high-schools/ https://jagkc.org/sporting-kc-partners-with-3de-by-junior-achievement-to-offer-educational-experiences-for-local-high-schools/#respond Fri, 10 Nov 2023 20:52:00 +0000 https://jagkc.org/?p=16914 Sporting Kansas City featured Junior Achievement of Greater Kansas City in an article highlighting their investment and partnership in 3DE by Junior Achievement. You can read their post HERE.

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Junior Achievement of Greater Kansas City Honors Local Entrepreneurs at Business Hall of Fame https://jagkc.org/ja_halloffame_2023/ https://jagkc.org/ja_halloffame_2023/#respond Fri, 10 Nov 2023 01:05:20 +0000 https://jagkc.org/?p=16702 The 23rd annual Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame Event was held on November 9, 2023 at the JA Youth Learning Lab, presented by the Mallouk Family Foundation. This signature event recognizes the dedication and achievements of changemakers that play vital roles in Kansas City’s continuing growth as a hub for entrepreneurship. 

Honored at the event were newly inducted Hall of Fame Laureates Chris and Angie Long of Palmer Square Capital Management and Kansas City Current; Chase McAnulty of Charlie Hustle; and Oscar Monterroso and CiCi Rojas of Tico Productions and Tico Sports, LLC. 

The event welcomed over 150 supporters from around Kansas City, including fifth grade student hosts from T.A. Edison Elementary School from Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools. These student hosts helped to welcome attendees, shared lunch with all of the guests, and some even gave speeches as a part of the event’s program. 

One student, Gracie, used her time on stage to summarize her experiences with JA BizTown, presented by CommunityAmerica Credit Union. 

“Younger students are introduced to Junior Achievement in the classroom, then in 5th grade, we get to come to JA BizTown for a field trip!” she said. “Because of Junior Achievement, I know better how I can create my own future and be a game changer too.” 

Rae Daniel, KSHB 41 Action News Morning Anchor and Reporter, served as emcee for the event, helping to celebrate the laureates’ unwavering commitment to Kansas City. 

“Their outstanding achievements serve as a testament to the enduring importance of instilling personal finance skills, preparing for the workforce in a global economy, and nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit,” Daniel said. “Each of our laureates have left an indelible mark on our community, embodying the principles at the heart of Kansas City – and the heart of Junior Achievement.” 

One overarching theme of the laureates’ speeches was teamwork. The Longs dedicated their speech to the teams behind both Palmer Square Capital Management and Kansas City Current, while Monterroso and Rojas brought their full Tico Productions team to the event. 

After thanking his own team, McAnulty shared the story of his first introduction to JA BizTown, and the sentiments that inspired him to have a Charlie Hustle storefront in the simulated Kansas City learning environment. 

“From the moment I walked in, I knew that this is a happy place,” McAnulty said. “It takes you back to elementary school and the joy of being a child and learning and growing. So, right away, I said, ‘Yeah, we’re in.’” 

It was a day to remember, as five individuals were honored for exemplifying the guiding principles of Junior Achievement day in and day out. 

To view pictures from this celebratory event, you can visit our photo album

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How JA of Greater Kansas City Improves Professional Outcomes for Youth https://jagkc.org/professionaloutcomes/ https://jagkc.org/professionaloutcomes/#respond Thu, 19 Oct 2023 20:47:15 +0000 https://jagkc.org/?p=16604 Four times each year, the team at Junior Achievement of Greater Kansas City is able to zoom out and reflect on the impacts of our daily efforts through our Quarterly Impact Reports. This process gives us the opportunity to 1. Examine the impacts we’re having through our curriculum, both in local schools and in the JAGKC workspaces, and 2. Explore how our work is influencing external conversations about economic mobility and career readiness. 

We are an organization focused on inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in a global economy, which means that we are especially interested in what financial literacy and personal finance data looks like both inside and outside of Kansas City: 

  • In 2019, 53% of college students in the United States reported that they are least prepared to manage money, compared to any other challenge they may face in undergraduate education. 
  • Across the U.S. today, 78% of adults live paycheck to paycheck, and only 33% of families have any emergency savings set aside. 
  • A 2018 study of financial outcomes for young adults ages 18 to 22 found that students who completed financial literacy programming in high school had better credit scores

While there are many nuanced conclusions that can be pulled from this research, one thing is very clear: Financial literacy has a positive impact on future financial decisions and financial confidence. 

Here at JA of Greater Kansas City, we’re proud of how our financial literacy curriculum and related programming are helping Kansas City youth create their own choice-filled futures by…  

  • Igniting passion within youth and cultivating entrepreneurial mindsets in order to spark their economic development and eventual economic mobility. Learn more about JA BizTown, presented by CommunityAmerica Credit Union, an opportunity for students to learn and grow in a simulated Kansas City. 
  • Increasing access and opportunity through enhanced classroom experiences with 3DE by Junior Achievement. We’re re-engineering high school education to be more relevant, experiential, and authentically connected to the complexities of the real world. 
  • Bringing JA to your classrooms in order to support academic communities that wouldn’t otherwise be able to access this level of financial education or community mentorship. 
  • Creating at-home tools that supplement other JA programming by reinforcing student confidence, public speaking skills, and the ability to take initiative. 

This quarter alone, we had 92.5% of teachers observe their students demonstrating and applying real world knowledge – and experiences – as a result of their JA lessons. We also saw the percentage of students who think it’s important to use a personal budget grow from only 49.5% to more than 82%! 

These are the exact types of targeted interventions that help young people disrupt intergenerational poverty by increasing their economical know-how, developing their understanding of financial behaviors, and expanding their workplace skill sets. 

As our students progress through their education, we are confident that we are helping build a future where the talent pipeline is filled with adults who are confident in their ability to make healthy financial decisions.

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Local Mayor Provides Real-World Example for JA BizTown Students https://jagkc.org/local-mayor-provides-real-world-example-for-ja-biztown-students/ https://jagkc.org/local-mayor-provides-real-world-example-for-ja-biztown-students/#respond Tue, 26 Sep 2023 17:28:20 +0000 https://jagkc.org/?p=16544 Joe Berkey wears many hats: he’s a small business owner, father of two Spring Hill Elementary School students, the mayor of Spring Hill, Kansas, and, on this otherwise normal weekday in spring 2023, he’s a volunteer at JA BizTown, presented by CommunityAmerica Credit Union! 

At school, Joe’s fourth grade son had been learning about JA BizTown for weeks. 

“They’ve been preparing for JA BizTown for about a month and a half, so he’s talked quite a bit about it at home,” Joe said. “He told me that every student would have a specific job in the town, and since I’m actually the Mayor of Spring Hill, he was really hoping to be the Mayor of JA BizTown.” 

While Joe’s son didn’t end up being appointed as mayor, he was chosen to be the Election Commissioner, another position in JA BizTown’s City Hall. 

“Since he’s seen me run for election, it gave me the opportunity to explain to him what an Election Commissioner does in the real world,” Joe said. “I got to tell him how they’re responsible for making sure that elections are safe and secure, and how they encourage all members of the community to vote.” 

As the day went on, their shared passion for civic duty became increasingly evident. 

“Before he actually got to JA BizTown, I think he knew it would be fun, but he didn’t fully understand what his job would look like. Now, he’s really gotten into it, and he’s already come over to me at least three times to say, ‘I love my job! This is awesome!’” Joe shared. 

As an active entrepreneur in his own community, Joe’s especially excited about the entrepreneurial and independence aspects of JA BizTown. 

“I own a small business – construction companies, actually – which is my main job besides being Mayor of Spring Hill,” he said. “That makes it extra interesting to see the kids going into these businesses, receiving services, paying their bills, checking on taxes – and I’ve seen so many smiles on these kids’ faces while they’re doing all of it.” 

While volunteering in JA BizTown, Joe made a point to provide mentorship and support to the fourth grade girl that was appointed to be mayor for the day. 

“As she’s running around, doing all of her responsibilities as Mayor, she said to me, ‘This is a lot of pressure,’” Joe said. “And I was able to affirm that, yes, it’s a lot of pressure – but there’s so much reward in it, too.” 

All in all, Joe is thankful for the opportunity to share his wisdom as a father, an entrepreneur, and an elected leader during his JA BizTown volunteering experience. 

“I’m posted in City Hall today, so I got to be a part of the students’ decision making for the pricing of dog and cat adoption fees,” he said. “I enjoyed being able to support their ideas, while also reminding them of the business loan they want to pay off, and the profit they want to make.” 

He’s also grateful that elementary school students are being exposed to these concepts in such an engaging environment. 

“At this young age, I think it’s awesome for them to get these experiences with jobs, responsibilities, and rewards,” he said. “I think there’s a sense of financial security and confidence that students are getting out of this experience because they’re learning how to provide for themselves, while also getting to take advantage of rewards when they have the money to do so. They’re getting so excited about working hard, too, which I think is really cool to witness.”

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Partnership Spotlight – Front Porch Alliance https://jagkc.org/partnership-spotlight-front-porch-alliance/ https://jagkc.org/partnership-spotlight-front-porch-alliance/#respond Thu, 14 Sep 2023 21:17:25 +0000 https://jagkc.org/?p=16498 On August 11th, the Equal Minded Cafe was packed with high school students and their supportive communities. It was the Third Annual Youth Summer Showcase from the Front Porch Alliance, an event that wrapped up the summer’s creative efforts by showcasing film projects from the Reel Collectors, Art Pieces from PORCH Storytellers, and the launch of a brand new, student-run videography and photography business. 

According to Hanna Hochstetler, Youth Programs Coordinator at the Front Porch Alliance, the nonprofit organization is located on the east side of Kansas City and has been working closely with nearby communities since the 1990s. Today, the Reel Collectors is a program that annually brings together students from area high schools to learn about professional level filmmaking from start to finish. This includes every step in the process, from ideation to creation to production, and every other task in between. But how do students learn to leverage these skills? 

“Starting that first summer, we brought in Junior Achievement’s entrepreneurship curriculum because we want to help students take the skills they’re already learning and be able to make them into a real business,” Hanna said. 

A key part of the Front Porch Alliance team since 2021, Hanna’s helped lead the partnership between FPA and JA since that same year. Rather than run the programming entirely on our own, JA provides supplemental programming and curriculum to FPA to help further their goals. Since day one, Hanna has worked closely with JA to grow this partnership’s reach from five students studying personal finance curriculum to more than 140 students in the 2022-2023 academic year. 

This growth has been made possible by FPA’s decision to integrate numerous JA programs, including personal finance curriculum and interactive programming like pitch competitions and JA Company Pop-Up. 

“There’s an entrepreneurship mindset that students have these days, and it’s something I wish I’d had when I was younger,” she said. “Our hope is that students can take these hard, creative skills in film and entrepreneurship in order to start businesses in marketing, filmmaking, and anything else at that intersection of art and technology.” 

One unique aspect of this particular partnership is the fact that students involved in certain Front Porch Alliance programming actually earn a cash stipend for their dedication and hard work. This means that, in real time, students are learning to earn, save, invest, and spend real money that they’ve earned through creative and entrepreneurial pursuits. 

“I get to see students turn their passions into paychecks and learn how to budget wisely, which I hope they’ll continue to do in their future careers,” Hanna said. 

Ultimately, as far as Hanna’s concerned, the JA and FPA partnership continues to bring value to multiple facets of her work. She sees the ways that students are building social networks, asking candid questions of local professionals who are pursuing career paths that students are interested in, and seeking out answers to the tough financial questions they don’t feel they can ask anywhere else. 

“I love working with JA. Every time we meet, we’re figuring out how we can help each other, and we’re also brainstorming together to make the best programming possible for the students that we’re working with,” she said. “It’s exciting – and it makes my job a lot easier – to be in a creative space where we’re both going after the same goals.” 

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