"In these tough economic times, children are struggling to see where they can fit into a career. Most of the students who are in grade school now will have jobs as adults that aren't even in existence yet, so we want to teach them to be creative and have the skills they need to be successful" (Jackson, 2011). This statement was made by a president from one of the many national Junior Achievement (JA) offices indicating the importance of teaching life skills to young kids and building their confidence for the future.
Junior Achievement USA has grown from its Springfield, Massachusetts roots in 1916 to now having 118 offices operating across the United States. (JAUSA website) It is a "volunteer-driven organization, dedicated to bringing the world of work to life for kids of all ages" (Jackson, 2011), and they really do bring the world of work to life for some kids.
Just this past year, Junior Achievement USA partnered with FedEx to create the first-ever lemonade stand run fully by Junior Achievement students at the Super Bowl. A handful of students were selected for this and were able to fully run the stand by themselves. They were also able to add quite a few professional athletes to their customer list.
Not all students get these grand of opportunities, but it does go to highlight the endless possibilities for the youth of today. On a smaller scale, the Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts holds a one day "JA in a day" program. This program is held in schools across the western part of the state and Southern Vermont. A Junior Achievement volunteer will be asked to visit a local classroom and interact with the students. Their goal is to lead a one-day pre-set program with hands-on activities and key learning objectives.