Below is a letter to the editor of the Florida Times Union by JA of North Florida President, Steve St. Amand. The letter was published on February 20, 2015.
If you’re born into a world of limitations because of poverty or financial illiteracy, then what are your chances for a future of greater possibilities?
Junior Achievement of North Florida knows the answer, and it’s among the reasons we decided to open our first dedicated financial education center.
Furthermore, we will create this financial literacy center in one of Jacksonville’s most economically depressed neighborhoods as part of the New Town Success Zone.
Our move into New Town begins with the renovation of the Mitchell Community Center, a project the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation will oversee. The renovated facility will be home to the Bank of America/JA Financial Literacy Center.
The name recognizes Bank of America’s support for the financial literacy center: a $200,000 grant that Junior Achievement recently received as the bank’s 2014 Neighborhood Builders Award recipient. We committed the grant to the New Town center.
Scheduled to be fully operational by 2016, the financial education center will expose an estimated 2,500 second-graders and third-graders a year from throughout Jacksonville to topics such as zoning, taxes, banking and personal money management.
Students from all Duval County elementary schools will have the opportunity to view New Town and learn about life from the New Town perspective. Program participants also will “open” their own restaurant, a virtual experience in running a business, as well as learning how money flows through the economy.
We hope to keep them in Junior Achievement as their education progresses and provide financial literacy, workforce preparation and entrepreneurship programs to older students in the future.
We look forward to the day the Bank of America/JA Financial Literacy Center opens in New Town.
While it will mark a new and exciting initiative for Junior Achievement of North Florida, the center more importantly will open young minds to a world that’s filled with possibilities.
Steve St. Amand, president,
Junior Achievement of North Florida