Junior Achievement of South Florida was founded locally in 1959 by the Fort Lauderdale Rotary Club and served just 373 high school students during its first year. Programs now span grades K-12, with age-appropriate curricula designed to teach elementary students about their roles as individuals, workers, and consumers and to prepare middle grade and high school students for key economic and workforce issues they will face. Junior Achievement programs reached over 48,000 Broward and south Palm Beach County students during the 2013-2014 school year. See JASF’s fact sheet here.
Our Core Purpose
To inspire and prepare youth to succeed in a global economy. JA’s Educational Focus Centers around:
- Financial Literacy
- Workplace readiness
Our Core Values
- Belief in the boundless potential of young people.
- Commitment to the principles of market-based economics and entrepreneurship.
- Passion for what we do, and honesty, integrity, and excellence in how we do it.
- Respect for the talents, creativity, perspectives, and backgrounds of all individuals.
- Belief in the power of partnership and collaboration.
- Conviction in the educational and motivational impact of relevant, hands-on learning
Since inception, Junior Achievement has been committed to “experiential learning”. Taking it to the next level, Junior Achievement of South Florida is proud of JA World, which involves two programs: JA BizTown and JA Finance Park. These dramatic programs significantly transform how every local student is taught to view the world of work, free enterprise and their possibilities for success in it.
The importance of these programs is difficult to overstate. Because of their tremendous experiential nature, a building is required to house JA’s BizTown and JA’s Finance Park.
JA BizTown for 5th Graders
Within the Falcone Family JA BizTown and an identical Dave and Lorraine Thomas BizTown II, JA BizTowns creates a learning environment in which students are given opportunities for real rather than imagined activities, active rather than passive learning, and actual decision making with positive and negative consequences.
JA BizTown participants:
- Will complete 20 hours of in-class training in preparation for the culminating activity of the training – a one-day hands-on experience where they demonstrate their new skills.
- Enter a mini-city, supported by trained instructors, where they take full responsibility for roles as proprietors, civic leaders and consumers.
- Operate and patronize businesses such as a newspaper, radio station, television station, bank, electric company, restaurant, real estate firm, professional offices, governmental offices and others.
- Attempt to fulfill the goal of satisfying their customers, paying-off their business loans AND realizing a profit at the conclusion of the business day.
- Will greatly increase their knowledge of the free enterprise system
In addition to improving test scores, the students learn the concepts of teamwork, leadership, punctuality, customer service and many other skills vital to success in the workplace.
JA Finance Park for 8th Graders
When students visit the Patten Family Foundation Finance Park, they enter the world of business. They get to see, touch, and experience free enterprise on their own terms. Students study different financial decisions to be made, consider the options available, and construct a personal budget. Members of the community, including businesses and parents, are actively involved in JA Finance Park as they assist students to achieve at their highest level.
JA Finance Park participants:
- Will first prepare for the experience with their teachers during one or more weeks of classroom study.
- Then exercise this new knowledge during a day-long visit to JA Finance Park.
- Are challenged to manage an assigned identity that includes marital status, number of children, annual income, education attained and job type. They prepare budgets (to include stock investment) and visit vendors to purchase housing, food, furniture, insurance, education, automobiles, and more.
Earnings potential and career options are immediately associated with educational success. Researchers agree that the reality of budgeting and purchasing is the best tool for linking school success with the best careers.
How Is This Different?
The rationale for this initiative can be supported by reams of research on the effectiveness of experiential learning and teaching entrepreneurship at an early age. The research shows that students who learn concepts and principles via experiential exercises demonstrate greater levels of engagement, reflection, and personal responsibility associated with the learning process than students who learn via traditional classroom instructional methods. A major difference between traditional modes of classroom instruction and experiential learning is that the experiential mode of learning helps students more effectively develop intrinsic motivation for learning.
Additionally, experiential teaching activities help students to characterize their learning as more relevant to the real world.
Who Will JA World Serve?
- 48000 students in Broward and south Palm Beach County (Public and Private schools)
- Teachers from participating schools
- Parents of participating students
- Business people in Broward and south Palm Beach County
In addition to the core programs described above, the facility opens possibilities for additional uses like:
- A summer entrepreneur camp
- Adult evening economic education programs
- A community public lecture series
- Young entrepreneur club meetings
Functionally designed space to accommodate social gatherings and meeting space enables the facility to be available for use by the public. This provides a valuable resource to the community, as well as needed exposure to JA World and its programs. For additional information call (954) 979-7100.