IberiaBank volunteer completes JA program at Hogan Spring Glen Elementary

This spring semester Tanya Guydos, Vice President of Iberiabank in Jacksonville, spent time each week teaching a kindergarten class at Hogan Spring Glen Elementary. She volunteered to teach the Junior Achievement program, JA Ourselves, and shared her experiences with JA program director Melissa Covey throughout the Spring.

February 2017

IberiaBank Volunteer

“Today we did the voting  lesson and I was able to get the Supervisor of Elections office to donate I voted stickers, I registered stickers, ballots and other items for them as well. We all “voted” on doing a beautification project for their class and their home.  I brought in all the goodies to make flowers pots.  One of our clients graciously donated all of the seeds and we had a ball.  Ok…   we did have to watch the dirt, I would have hated to call the janitor!

Thought I would share with you. Great Friday and such a wonderful group of kids!!”

April 2017


“They were so excited that I was back and look at the card they made for me for my time I had spent with them!  I about started to cry!”

May 2017

Tanya Guydos Iberia Bank Hogan Spring Glen

“Today each child received their certificates AND a nickel and a quarter (Lesson #4) to put in their banks to save!” 

About JA Ourselves®

JA Ourselves uses storybook characters in read-aloud and hands-on activities to introduce the role people play in an economy. Through engaging, volunteer-led activities, young students learn about individual choices, money, the importance of saving and giving, and the value of work. Learn more about JA Ourselves.

If you are interested in becoming a Junior Achievement volunteer please visit JAjax.com.

Stay connected: Facebook // Twitter // LinkedIn // Google+ // Instagram // Website

Acknowledging a superhero volunteer during Volunteer Appreciation Week

Halley McKenzie

April 23-29 is National Volunteer Appreciation Week. Our hardworking volunteers have made an impact on many students’ lives, and for that we thank them!

Halley McKenzie (pictured, with JA North Florida President Steve St. Amand) received the Richard Maxwell Award at the Hall of Fame event in March 2017.

And rightfully so!

Halley has been teaching JA programs for 10 years, is now the volunteer coordinator for Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, and has had a hand in nearly 20,000 students receiving JA programs since the start of her involvement with Junior Achievement.

Named after the CEO of JA USA who brought JA programs into the classrooms in the mid-70’s, the Richard Maxwell Award is presented to someone who has not only been an exemplary JA volunteer, but has also worked tirelessly to increase volunteer participation by others presented to someone who is not only an exemplary JA volunteer, but has also worked tirelessly to increase volunteer participation by others.

Congratulations Halley, and thank you for your efforts!

If you or your company would like to get involved like Halley, click here to learn how you can make an impact with Junior Achievement in North Florida.

Stay connected: Facebook // Twitter // LinkedIn // Google+ // Instagram // Website

JA Boy$ Reverse Job Shadow at Young Men’s Leadership Academy

JA Boy$ Reverse Job Shadow

Groups of boys at Young Men’s Leadership Academy spoke with business men from the community and learned about potential career paths.

View photo album on our Facebook page.

Junior Achievement’s Reverse Job Shadow events provide local businesses with a chance to give back to the community and invest in possible future employees, and students become more work-ready by learning about the career opportunities available to them in the Jacksonville area and beyond.

Stay connected: Facebook // Twitter // LinkedIn // Google+ // Website

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 www.JAjax.com.

New school year, new ways to become involved with JA

Hard to believe it is September!Volunteer with Junior Achievement of North Florida in Jacksonville
We were busy all summer long bringing our financial literacy and entrepreneurship programs to summer camps throughout Jacksonville.

We held our first-ever crowdfunding campaign for the summer programs, raising just shy of $2,000. A HUGE thank you to all who donated!

Now that the new school year has started, we are busy recruiting, training volunteers and scheduling with teachers to bring JA programs into their classrooms.

In addition, new partnerships will bring exciting new initiatives to students in Duval County. Stay tuned for more on these experiential learning opportunities.

Many new volunteer opportunities are posted on our website at www.JAjax.com. There are so many ways to get involved with JA this school year!

During school, after school, morning, afternoon, evening, gender-specific, elementary, middle, and high school, personal finance-related, entrepreneurship-related, Reverse Job Shadows and more…Click here to visit our website and find one that’s right for you!

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about volunteering, our programs or bringing JA to your classroom.

It’s going to be a great year!

– Program Staff of Junior Achievement of North Florida
Tiffany Mackey, VP of Programs (tiffany@jajax.com)
Rita Story, Program Director – Southside & Mandarin (rita@jajax.com)
Teresa Smith, Director of Special Initiatives (teresa@jajax.com)
Sabrina Kinslow, JA Girl$ Program Manager (sabrina@jajax.com)
Jonathan Bishop, JA Boy$ Program Manager (jonathan@jajax.com)
Melissa Daniel, Program Director – Northside & Westside (melissa@jajax.com)

Junior Achievement enriches summer camp at Seamark Ranch

Junior Achievement JA Ourselves

Kids at Seamark Ranch got to experience the fun, hands-on lessons of JA Ourselves® during their time at summer camp.

Seamark Ranch’s 468-acre campus in North Florida includes a farm that gives kids the chance to cultivate and grow their food, and reap the benefits of hard work.

Seamark Ranch used JA Ourselves during their summer camp. “The groups seemed very appreciative of the materials,” said Carleen Haney, Community Relations Coordinator, Seamark Ranch.

Session One’s story, “Robbie’s Trip to the Farm” tied in perfectly with their experience at Seamark Ranch’s farm. The story introduced a character they could all relate to; the kids saw Robbie planting vegetables, feeding the farm animals and eating what is grown.

This is Seamark Ranch’s first year using Junior Achievement as enrichment to their summer camp. Through JA Ourselves, kids learned about the economic role of individuals and the program’s hands-on activities taught them about helping, working, earning and saving money.

Junior Achievement JA Ourselves

Junior Achievement JA Ourselves

Junior Achievement JA Ourselves

To learn more about Junior Achievement’s programs in the Northeast Florida region and to become involved, please visit www.JAjax.com.

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 www.JAjax.com.

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 www.JAjax.com.

UNF Women In Business Society teach Junior Achievement lessons to Pre-K Students

April 17 UNF WBS at UNF Child Dev Center2

Members of University of North Florida’s Women In Business Society volunteered and taught Junior Achievement curriculum to kids at the UNF Child Development Research Center on April 17.

Six WBS members taught JA Ourselves to Pre-K students for a mini “JA in a Day,” teaching two out of the five lessons from the program.

The WBS volunteers taught Session One, “Robbie’s Trip to the Farm” and Session Three, “Charlie Plants a Garden.”  Students were introduced to a storybook character and his visit to a family farm, and through a group discussion and by drawing pictures of their favorite animals, discovered that individuals make choices. In “Charlie Plants a Garden” the students learned how the storybook characters work together to plant a community garden, then followed up the activity with a visit to a real garden on-site at UNF.

April 17 UNF WBS at UNF Child Dev Center6

WBS volunteers reading “Robbie’s Trip to the Farm” during Session One of JA Ourselves, which teaches concepts of work, earning, reward, voluntary exchange and choices.

After reading about the farm animals in the story, students drew their favorite animals.

Students drew their favorite animals after reading about the farm animals in “Robbie’s Trip to the Farm.”

April 17 UNF WBS at UNF Child Dev Center7

Junior Achievement’s hands-on activities encourage discussion between the students and volunteers while reinforcing lesson concepts.

April 17 UNF WBS at UNF Child Dev Center4

The Women In Business Society is a student organization based in the UNF Coggin College of Business that is dedicated to supporting women in their efforts to pursue higher levels of educational and professional achievement.

In addition to lending their time teaching Junior Achievement in the classroom, WBS members help out every year with set-up and running the check-in table at our annual Smart Women Make Change event. We value their partnership and from everyone at JA, “Thank you, Women in Business Society!”

To learn more about volunteer opportunities with Junior Achievement, please visit jajax.com.