Girls learn tools for success at Junior Achievement’s Day of The Girl

Day of the Girl participants

The inaugural Day of The Girl event hosted by Junior Achievement of North Florida’s JA Girl$ program and Police Athletic League of Jacksonville, Inc. was held July 21 at JaxPAL’s location on Monument Road in Jacksonville.

A day ALL about girls, Day of The Girl aimed to provide a holistic, girl-centered approach to the Junior Achievement concepts of financial literacy, entrepreneurship and career readiness.

The day was emceed by Angela Spears, Angela Spears Communication, and six workshops led by local business women and leaders covered everything from saving money to leadership to social media savviness.

Day of the Girl participantsDay of the GirlDay of the Girl participants

“I learned why it’s important to save money now,” said one 8th grader from The Bridge of Northeast Florida TEAM-Up. “I want to be able to live a good life and I can’t if I waste all my money.”

A seventeen-year old girl from Daniel Memorial Independent Living Program said the program has made a positive impact on her life. “I needed this,” she said. “I’ve made a lot of mistakes already; I’m trying to do better. This was fun…I learned a lot that can help me now and later.”

Junior Achievement’s ‘Reverse Job Shadow’ was incorporated into the day. Presenters spoke to rotating groups of girls about educational requirements, salary range and skills needed to work in their career field.

Day of the Girl Voya Financial

“You saw the light bulbs go off,” said one volunteer from Voya Financial. “The girls were so excited to know they have a choice in how their life will turn out.”

The ‘Economics of Healthy Eating,’ sponsored by The Jim Moran Foundation, taught girls how to save money on food but eat healthy at the same time.

In total, 220 girls from the following groups participated in Day of The Girl:

  • JaxPAL
  • Girl Scouts of the Gateway Council
  • Girls on the Run – Northeast Florida
  • Daniel Memorial – Independent Living Program
  • Daniel Memorial – Residential Program
  • Daniel Memorial – Journey To Success Program
  • Virtue Art & Science Academy
  • The Bridge of Northeast Florida – Team-Up
  • Individual registrants

“I can’t wait for next year,” said one parent. “The girls were so excited to have a day just for them; all about girls.”

Day of the Girl participants

Day of the Girl participants

The inaugural Day of The Girl’s success is due in part to incredible women who volunteered from the following companies:

  • Bank of America
  • Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office
  • Macquarie Group
  • Primerica
  • Voya Financial
  • Women Entrepreneurs

Day of the Girl women participants

Special thanks to Chase Bank, Natural Life, and Panera Bread for providing in-kind donations to Day of The Girl, and to Celebration Church for stuffing the Day of The Girl goodie bags.

“There’s something magical that happens when you provide girls with a space to just be themselves,” said Sabrina Kinslow, JA Girl$ Program Manager. “To ask questions. To be confident in their answers. To be inspired to dream big. ‘Day of The Girl’ was created to provide that space.”

She continues, “Day of The girl provided the tools and role models to encourage the continuation of developing healthy, successful girls. JA Girl$ and JaxPAL know healthy, successful girls become healthy, successful women.”

Day of the Girl

View more photos on Junior Achievement’s Facebook page.

JA Girl$ is a Junior Achievement of North Florida initiative to educate girls and young women in financial literacy, career readiness and entrepreneurship. Learn more about JA Girl$ and how you can become involved.

$mart Women Make Change!, the signature luncheon event to benefit JA Girl$, will take place October 20 at the Florida Blue Conference Center. The event will feature keynote speaker Sonia Manzano, “Maria” on Sesame Street and Author. All proceeds from this event fund the JA Girl$ program and make Day of The Girl possible. Click here to learn more about $mart Women Make Change!.

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2014-15 school year results are in: JA of North Florida’s best year yet!

JA of North Florida 2014-15 school year results

2014-15 Student Reach JAStaff

Student reach results sub heading

We reached 52,881 students during the 2014-15 school year with our financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship programs.

In other words, 42% of students in Duval County Public Schools participated in a Junior Achievement program last school year.

We are excited to share some highlights from JA USA’s end-of-year results. These results demonstrate the impact our organization, volunteers and donors are making on the lives of young people in North Florida.

Student reach newsletter graphic

For the first time in its 52-year history, JA of North Florida is in the top 25 of the 115 JA Areas in the United States, and is now the second largest JA Area in the state of Florida, second only to JA of Tampa Bay!

Instructional hours increased

Last school year, the amount of time volunteers spent with students teaching JA increased.

Student reach newsletter hours per student

JA of North Florida volunteers spent more hours per student than the national average.

Student reach newsletter market share

We are proud to announce JA of North Florida is 23rd out of 115 JA Areas in the nation in market share, and #1 of the nine JA Areas in Florida!

These numbers reflect the strength of this community of JA supporters. Give yourself a hand!

Thank you for giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their futures, and make smart academic and economic choices.
We look forward to continue sharing the impact and successes of the program and students involved during the 2015-16 school year.
To volunteer with us or to learn more, visit

JA Volunteer Profile: Joseph Jones

Junior Achievement

We Are JA is a profile series highlighting the people who make up Junior Achievement – volunteers, students, companies, donors, alumni and more. Celebrating the moments, successes and experiences of our constituents, this series reveals the people who are part of Junior Achievement’s impact in the North Florida region.

Joseph Jones Joseph Jones, Volunteer
Retirement Benefits Specialist: Tax Sheltered Plans, AXA Advisors

JA: How did you learn about Junior Achievement and why did you want to become involved?

Joseph: I had heard about Junior Achievement for years, but never really looked into it fully. Being involved with Duval County Public Schools as a retirement benefits resource, a lot of my contacts and clients asked me about Junior Achievement and my involvement.

My business partner Marie Galke and I finally reached out to Tiffany Mackey [VP of Programs] after going through the orientation during one of our weekly training sessions over at the AXA branch office downtown. I told her my schedule, the schools I represented as a retirement benefits specialist, and she connected me with Mr. O’Brien at Edward H. White High School. After the first Junior Achievement “JA in a Day” we were hooked.

Jeff Davis Middle

You participated in several Reverse Job Shadow events this past school year. What surprised you most during your conversations with the students?

What surprised me most was that a lot of the students actually had well-thought-out questions besides just “how much money do you make?” Many asked me how happy I was with my job, and for some details on the day-to-day schedule of what my work life looks like.

They asked about the requirements to get on my career path, and what specifically they could do in order to accomplish this. I feel that overall the students took the Reverse Job Shadows seriously and gained some valuable insight.

As a financial professional, what do you hope students take away from your conversations with them?

Junior Achievement of North Florida Volunteer Kirby Smith MiddleI hope that students take away the need to be proactive and educated about the financial world around them, including their personal financial situation. Learning the simple concepts and steps to take ownership of one’s financial future is easy to do with the curriculum of Junior Achievement.

Through the programming already built out that flows smoothly from year to year, a student who goes through the full JA curriculum should have a masterful understanding of general financial practices. I hope to help build knowledgeable citizens who one day will contribute to a changed economic landscape here and abroad.

What would you tell someone who has never volunteered with Junior Achievement but is thinking of getting involved?

The easiest way to get started is to just make the commitment and jump in. I had never taught, and definitely had not taught any children. The curriculum and resources already built into the programming make the process extremely easy and stress-free. This allows you to focus on the students, the relationships, and making the material as
relatable as possible by putting it in your own voice.

When you finish a course and know that you’ve made an impact on somebody by teaching them a new concept or getting them interested in their own personal finances, that’s when you feel great and want to come back and volunteer more.

Blog Pull Quote_Joseph Jones

To volunteer with Junior Achievement of North Florida, please visit

Volunteer Profile: Ruth Wright

Website Banner

We Are JA is a profile series highlighting the people who make up Junior Achievement – volunteers, students, companies, donors, alumni and more. Celebrating the moments, successes and experiences of our constituents, this series reveals the people who are part of Junior Achievement’s impact in the North Florida region.

Volunteer: Ruth Wright

Junior Achievement volunteer

Ruth WrightRuth Wright, PwC, has been volunteering with Junior Achievement for the past 8 years in Tampa and Jacksonville and is an example of someone who goes above and beyond to support JA’s mission.

This past spring, the date for PwC’s “JA in a Day” at Pickett Elementary just so happened to fall during her planned Hawaiian vacation. Despite being thousands of miles away on an island in the Pacific, she carried out her volunteer coordinator duties.

Melissa Daniel, JA Program Director, remembers telling Ruth to “Stop working!” as Ruth coordinated the JA in a Day from Hawaii. Ruth even checked in via text messages the day-of to see how it was going and made sure all volunteers were accounted for.

On the occasion we are short a classroom volunteer, she has volunteered the night before to fill in the scheduled JA class. Ruth has participated in our JA Reverse Job Shadow event and she is currently coordinating a PwC team for our Florida vs. Georgia-themed Fall Bowl-A-Thon.

Ruth was selected to participate in PwC’s Project Belize later this month where she’ll teach financial literacy at schools in Belize City. “I am beyond thrilled!” she exclaimed of the opportunity to impact more youth.

Junior Achievement Volunteer

Junior Achievement: Why did you want to get involved with JA?

Ruth Wright: I love what JA does. There are so many youth who do not have the opportunities to receive basic financial literacy skills that can improve their lives tenfold. I really was drawn to the stories I heard from youth being successful coming out of the programs. I also love working with kids, so that helps!

What is your favorite part about volunteering?

I am always amazed at the kids’ reaction and willingness to learn and am truly humbled by the experience. I also feel that JA makes a difference in their lives, and am honored to be a part of this process.

Seeing kids remember topics covered from prior year’s lessons reinforces that the program does work. It is hard to really think of just one memorable moment, as there have been so many, but one of my favorite things is feeling the unconditional love the children give to me when I come and go.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about getting their company to participate in “JA in a Day”?

It is a truly rewarding experience! Even just one person going into the classroom makes a difference!

Junior Achievement Volunteer

Junior Achievement volunteer quote

Junior Achievement volunteer

To learn more about volunteering with Junior Achievement of North Florida, please visit

Junior Achievement teams up with EverBank for financial literacy lesson at Father & Kids Event

Junior Achievement of North Florida
On Saturday, June 27 we had the opportunity to partner with EverBank for a financial literacy station at the All Pro Dad Father & Kids Experience at EverBank Field.
EverBank Field
Each station offered fathers and their kids different football drills, fatherhood advice and plenty of fun and games. Each station was named for a different football position, and kids got a glimpse of what it takes to be a football player.
At the EverBank Quarterback station, they warmed up with an exercise quarterbacks do – the duck walk! Fathers went first, then their kids showed them how it’s done.
A football-themed story using JA money bucks reinforced the concepts of saving, spending and sharing money and the role of each in sound money management.

A dad and his son came up to our staff between station rotations, telling us how his son already knows the value of saving. For each “A” he gets in school, he gets $5. For every “B” he gets $4 and for every “C” he gets $3. The dad, admitting that he personally should do better managing money, couldn’t wait to tell us how proud he was of his son. His son saved the money he earned for good grades and bought an iPad!

All Pro Dad, the fatherhood program of Family First, strengthens fathers’ relationships with their children and provides useful, everyday parenting tips.

Click here to view more photos from the day.

To learn more about Junior Achievement’s programs that teach money smarts to young people, visit

Volunteer Company Profile: BBVA Compass

Website Banner

We Are JA is a series of profiles highlighting the people who make up Junior Achievement – volunteers, students, educators, donors, alumni and more. Celebrating the moments, successes and experiences of our constituents, this series recognizes those who are part of Junior Achievement’s impact in the North Florida region.

Blog photo 5x7 landscape_BBVA Compass2

BBVA Compass, Volunteer Company

Volunteer Coordinator Jennifer Wagner reflects on their first year volunteering with Junior Achievement.

JA: This was BBVA Compass’ first year volunteering. What has the feedback been like from your team?
Jenny Wagner: The feedback from the BBVA Compass Volunteer Chapter in Jacksonville has been amazing. Our team of employee volunteers had never executed financial education events of this scale and magnitude.

From start to finish, the Junior Achievement team made the training process simple and seamless for our employees – giving them the confidence to deliver the new financial literacy program to students in our communities.

A majority of our volunteers said it exceeded their expectations and in fact, many of our employees have expressed interest in teaching JA again!

Blog photo custom_BBVA Compass

What does your team enjoy most about volunteering with Junior Achievement?
Time and time again, our volunteers express how much they love being able to lend their financial expertise to the communities where we live and work.

The joy on the children’s faces and the personal satisfaction of knowing we helped make a difference in their lives is priceless. I’m proud of our team’s work and truly believe that our BBVA Compass volunteers have the biggest hearts in Northeast Florida!

Blog Pull Quote_BBVA Compass

BBVA Compass brought JA in a Day to 98 classes across four schools this year. What is your favorite memory from that time?
Our volunteers had the opportunity to interact and learn from children of all ages. As you can imagine, there are plenty of funny stories to tell.

My favorite memory was listening to our volunteers share their JA experiences and stories. The intent of teaching was to give back to the kids in our communities, but an unexpected delight was realizing how much the kids gave back to all of us.

Junior Achievement of North Florida Volunteer

Junior Achievement Volunteers

Junior Achievement Volunteers

To learn more about volunteering with Junior Achievement of North Florida, please visit

Thoughtful student thank-you note

MHS student thank you letter

JA volunteers truly do inspire and make a difference.

We recently held a “Reverse Job Shadow” day at Mandarin High School.

Students walked table to table to interview professionals from an array of fields, asking questions for 7 minutes then moving to the next table.

We received a stack of thank-you notes at our office from these students.

Wow! Reading through the letters, they really enjoyed talking to the adults from the different career fields.

One student’s note in particular demonstrates the power of role models and that there are some very bright young people out there who will no doubt be successful in the path they choose (See above photo).

The note reads:

“Thank you for your time in coming to Mandarin High School for the Junior Achievement event. Although I don’t plan on entering the medical field any time soon, it was fascinating talking to you about what you did for work. I am entering the scientific field though, microbiology to be exact, and I am doing it for the same reasons you did and that is to make people’s lives better. I may not be doing heart surgery or fixing broken arms, but I plan on making medicine and pushing what we know even further, in hopes that one day it will all pay off in the long run. Like you said, the benefits definately [sic] outweigh the risks. Once again, I appreciate you coming for speaking at the event and taking your time out of the schedule for it.”

If you are interested in sharing your career with students, please contact us for the next available date! 

Call Tiffany Mackey at 904-398-9944 ext.230 or email

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