Partnership Spotlight – Front Porch Alliance | Junior Achievement of Greater Kansas City

Partnership Spotlight - Front Porch Alliance | Junior Achievement of Greater Kansas City

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Partnership Spotlight – Front Porch Alliance

September 14, 2023 Madison Clark 0 Comments

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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