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5 Questions with a Pro: Robin Wise, President/CEO, Junior Achievement-Rocky Mountain

Updated: Sep 29

1. Tell us about Junior Achievement-Rocky Mountain.

Simply put, Junior Achievement (JA) is about teaching kids self-sufficiency and the dignity of work. We reach on average 100,000 K-12 grade students in the classroom during the school day with our volunteer-led curriculum that focuses on three areas - financial literacy, work/career readiness and entrepreneurship. Through JA programs, teens are connected with role models who will teach them practical life and career skills, and cultivate their self-determination and optimism.


2. Tell us more about student experiences with JA-Rocky Mountain.

We know that our programs work. Students who participate in JA programs in their schools are finishing school at higher rates than peers who do not have JA programs, they are starting businesses at higher rates - and they are more optimistic than their peers who have not had the opportunity to have a JA program in their classroom.


3. What is the role the volunteer plays with JA-Rocky Mountain?

Volunteers are the backbone to our program. Teachers request our free JA programs and then we match the teacher/classroom with a trained JA volunteer. We provide the volunteer with all the materials, games and exercises required for the program. The commitment to volunteer varies from one class sessions to five, 50 minute lessons in elementary classrooms or seven to eight lessons in middle school or high school. Our volunteers come back year after year because it is a truly meaningful experience. Teachers value the volunteer support because they help supplement what is already being taught, or in some cases teachers tell us they really have no expertise to teach some of the concepts. And the bonus is the volunteer is helping build a future talent pipeline for their industry.


4. Community is a big part of the non-profit world. How can one get involved in the JA-Rocky Mountain Community?

There are so many ways to engage with JA. Fortunately, we are able to deliver these vital and inspiring programs free to schools due to the generous financial support from hundreds of businesses, individuals and foundations - so simply writing a check is always appreciated. Additionally, there are great ways to participate in JA by volunteering in the classroom or judging student projects. For more information please visit our Rocky Mountain website or find your local chapter.


5. JA-Rocky Mountain has some big project in the works, can you tell us a little about what is coming up for JA-Rocky Mountain?

We have some great thing in store for the region! We're building a facility in the cultural heart of the Denver Tech Center that is going to house two state-of-the-art educational experiences available at no cost to schools:

  • JA Finance Park: This will be our second JA Finance Park and enable us to double the number of students who participate in this immersive simulation that gives teens the opportunity to become adults for the day. The program is recognized by Harvard University as a best practice for teaching financial literacy, students explore a mini-city, learning first-hand how to budget for housing, insurance, transportation, retirement investments , and more.

  • JA Dream Accelerator: This is an exciting new responsive career exploration experience that picks up where career assessments leave off. Utilizing FRID technology, the JA Dream Accelerator brings careers to life by sharing stories of emerging entrepreneurs and Colorado Business Hall of Fame inductees tailored to each student. Students also develop an action plan, showing them how they can achieve their goals.



ABOUT JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT-ROCKY MOUNTAIN

Junior Achievement-Rocky Mountain, Inc. (JA) is part of the world’s largest nonprofit dedicated to motivating kids for future career success, self-sufficiency, and financial acumen. We accomplish this through a huge network of stellar volunteers who share their stories with young people and deliver lessons in career readiness, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship..

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