Organizations whose sole purpose is to enhance education by diversifying its impact on young minds not only have justified their existence, they are making a difference in preparing our youngsters for the future.
Organizations whose good work and longevity have remained afloat in the troubled waters of uncertain times and sagging economies have proven their worth and subsequently cemented their approach to responsible actions through accountable means.
Organizations who do all the above — and who do them well — are the very groups that most often are led by volunteers and who can be trusted when the time comes for fundraising.
One such 501(c)(3) nonprofit is Junior Achievement of the Ocoee Region whose cause is education; and specifically, it is the preparation of young people for an ever-evolving global economy. This translates into financial literacy, workplace readiness, business and entrepreneurial awareness, and personal responsibility.
The work of Junior Achievement is not only impressive because of its results, but also due to its longstanding partnership with area school systems. In recent years, JA of the Ocoee Region has joined hands with school systems in Bradley, McMinn, Monroe, Meigs and Polk counties to better prepare some 4,500 students for the future.
It’s not just about textbooks. It’s about readiness and individual accountability.
It’s not just about reading, writing and arithmetic. It’s about understanding how each unfolds into real life during real times with real people.
It’s not just about making the grade. It’s about taking the score and testing its waters of relevancy in the job market, personal finance and life-skills literacy.
It’s not just about memorizing dates, facts and historical data. It’s about incorporating all three into a helpful package of self-marketing.
It’s not just about a report card. It’s about a scoreboard of opportunity.
Now only a year away from celebrating its 50th anniversary in the Cleveland, Bradley County and Southeast Tennessee community, JA of the Ocoee Region has launched its annual fundraising campaign. This year’s goal is the same as last year’s — $30,000.
Such a sum might not sound like much, especially when considering the volume raised by other equally as worthy nonprofits. But JA’s needs are simple. The organization buys instructional materials from Junior Achievement USA that are used by trained volunteers who partner with classroom teachers to broaden the educational experience of area children in grades K-12.
Junior Achievement doesn’t take the place of formal education; it supplements what is already taught and expands the field of thinking.
Junior Achievement doesn’t re-create the wheel of learning; it merely lays out a straighter path toward a longer roll to possibility.
Junior Achievement doesn’t test the aptitude; it helps to develop a responsible attitude.
Junior Achievement doesn’t claim to have all the answers; but it better prepares its students for many of the questions.
Junior Achievement doesn’t take the place of schools or classrooms or teachers or formal academics; it works in harmony with an established system to broaden the educational experience in order to be better prepared for the worlds of work, finance and life.
As is the JA tradition, this year’s fundraising campaign is open-ended, meaning that it will involve no cut-off deadline. That’s because the longtime nonprofit works with many different fiscal calendars among its corporate sponsors and individual partners.
To date, letters of invitation to join the JA cause have been forwarded to existing business partners as well as a variety of new names and faces.
Our community is blessed to be served by many nonprofit causes. We count Junior Achievement of the Ocoee Region to be among the best.
For those wishing more information about JA, its goals, its practices or its plans for the present and future, we recommend contacting the staff or volunteers personally. JA is now operating from its new location, the former security building on the Cleveland State Community College on Adkisson Drive.
The nonprofit’s new telephone number is 423-614-8777. The new fax number is 423-614-8778.
There are reasons Junior Achievement of the Ocoee Region has operated locally since 1965.
It is called trust. It is called volunteerism. It is called community.
We urge support of JA during the new campaign.
It’s not just about an organization. It’s about the children who benefit from its wisdom.