Florida Blue + JA = Success

Florida Blue has shown tremendous support for Junior Achievement over the years and May 17, 2013 was no different. Sporting their blue t-shirts, forty-three volunteers from Florida Blue brought Junior Achievement’s “JA Day” to students at Don Brewer and Fort Caroline Elementary Schools.

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The students at Don Brewer were greeted with cheers and high fives as they walked outside through a “football tunnel” of Florida Blue volunteers, setting the tone for the fun day of learning ahead.

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A morning opening ceremony offered special remarks from JA President Steve St. Amand and Florida Blue’s Bob Wall while the twenty-five volunteers on-site waited eagerly to meet their students, for which they would be divided into JA Girl$ and JA Boy$ groups.

JA of North Florida President Steve St. Amand addresses Don Brewer students.

Jared Knight, Internal Audit at Florida Blue, has never volunteered for Junior Achievement but was ready to teach his 4th graders about business and entrepreneurship. “I think it’s a good opportunity to give back to the community. It’s a great program to be involved with.”

This day at Don Brewer marked the beginning of the JA Boy$ program, Junior Achievement’s new initiative for 2013. JA Boy$ follows the same model as the well-established JA Girl$ program in that it focuses on delivering lessons in a single-gender environment.

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JA Boy$ Program Manager, Jason Saunders.

“The volunteers from Florida Blue did a great job connecting, delivering and showing that JA Boy$ can have an enormous effect on the community’s male students,” said Jason Saunders, JA Boy$ Program Manager. “The programs went over really well with the boys. They were excited, engaged and finished the day enriched.”

Meanwhile, eighteen Florida Blue volunteers taught traditional JA classes at Fort Caroline Elementary’s JA Day.

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Lots of financial learning going on behind the walls of Fort Caroline Elementary.

Principal David Pinter believes JA’s programs are very important to students, as he remarked: “It takes many hands from various specialists to build a home — each and every child is a mansion waiting to be constructed. JA’s contribution helps weave the fabric of each and every waiting masterpiece.”

Debra Stewart, Service Manager at Florida Blue, was enthusiastic about interacting with her third grade class at Fort Caroline. She exclaimed, “It’s very rewarding. I’m glad I made this decision to come today…I’m thinking about volunteering again for Junior Achievement!”

Debra Stewart, Florida Blue Service Manager and JA Volunteer.

Days like this show the true spirit of Junior Achievement, when companies and schools partner to teach and inspire a new generation.

“We recognize that financial literacy is an important ingredient to grow our future leaders. We’re honored to be working with JA and helping achieve their mission,” stated Bob Wall, Florida Blue Chief Human Resource Officer and JA Board Member.

“Florida Blue’s culture of giving back to the community through volunteerism greatly benefits all of the organizations they touch,” said Steve St. Amand. “Over 1,000 students will be more financially literate, better prepared for the workplace and interested in entrepreneurial pursuits because of Florida’s Blue one-day commitment to Junior Achievement programs.”

About JA Days
JA in a Day is a special Junior Achievement delivery method that facilitates the partnership between a business and a school. During JA in a Day, the JA school program is accelerated to be covered in the course of one day during the school week. At the end of the school day, the students will have completed all five JA lessons and will have earned their JA certificate. Normally, this process would take five weeks to complete.

About Junior Achievement
Junior Achievement is the world’s largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices. Junior Achievement of North Florida has been operating in Jacksonville since 1963 and during the 2011-2012 school year reached 27,883 students through in-school partnerships with educators.

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