JA has served as a reliable partner to the Cleveland and Bradley County school systems for decades by lending a touch of real-world opportunity to established classroom curriculum. The nonprofit organization makes this possible through the dedicated efforts of a minimal three-member staff — one full-time president and two part-time workers — and the civic-minded support of a volunteer board of directors who serve multiple roles as classroom instructors, liaisons between the JA organization and community, and fundraisers.
Without its diverse platform of volunteer support, Junior Achievement would be greatly tasked to accomplish the many feats of excellence that it accomplishes each year by reaching out to some 4,100 students in grades K-12.
Chartered in 1965 to operate in Bradley and McMinn counties, JA is a unique gift to area classrooms because of the subject matter its volunteer instructors bring to the established curriculum of area school systems. This common-sense approach offers practical instruction in three key disciplines — financial literacy, entrepreneurship and career awareness.
All are integral to the development of young minds because they go far beyond the realm of textbooks which essentially teach academia. Certainly basic academics are the foundation of a well-rounded education; as such, schools, school systems, teachers and administrators must concern themselves primarily with an established curriculum. They have little time to concern themselves with additional disciplines such as that offered through JA.
Why is such an outreach critical to young minds? Because it helps students to better prepare themselves for the new global economy while also providing invaluable instruction in areas that exceed the boundaries of reading, writing and arithmetic. JA instruction is about the teaching of real-world needs — such as understanding personal and household finance, becoming familiar with career opportunities and learning how to gauge personal interest in business.
Junior Achievement does not try to duplicate the work of the established classroom. Likewise, schoolteachers do not make attempts to cover material set aside for JA instructors. The two serve as partners. JA supplements the established classroom curriculum, thereby allowing professional teachers more time to do what they do best — teach academics.
It is an excellent working partnership, one that has proven itself for years in Cleveland and Bradley County. It is a manner of educational teamwork that we hope will continue for years to come.
Like so many nonprofit organizations, Junior Achievement operates through public donations. The parents of youngsters who receive JA instruction in the Ocoee Region — Bradley, McMinn, Monroe, Meigs and Polk counties — are among the many who contribute to its ongoing operation. Other primary supporters are area industry, companies and any employer who must concern itself with quality of workforce — past, present and future.
It is why we encourage the public’s continued support of Junior Achievement. The local operation needs our community’s helping hand now more than ever.
JA is not just about today. It is about a world of tomorrows.