April 2017

Dear Friends of JA:

As we come to the end of another sucessful school year, we want to recognize nearly 6,000 volunteers who have generously given their time to make a difference in a student’s life.

Junior Achievement is unique in that all of our K-12 programs are delivered by volunteers. Every week, JA volunteers dedicate their time and energy to teach financial literacy, entrepreneurship and work readiness skills to more than 75,000 San Diego students. This is pretty amazing considering the maximum seating at Petco Park baseball stadium is 42,445.

Our volunteers, made up of business, education, and community leaders, come from all walks of life representing the diversity of San Diego's economy and workforce. One does not need a degree in financial management or education to make a difference in a child's life.

Below are some recent comments from JA volunteers on why they make volunteering a top priority:

"I am very passionate about volunteering for JA because when I was growing up I knew nothing about money. My parents did not teach me the fundamentals of finance,” said Grant Webster, JA YES (Young Executive Society) Member and Portfolio Manager at Dowling & Yahnke. "Now as an adult, I am proud to partner with JA to bring financial education to San Diego students to help them succeed beyond the classroom.” Grant played a key role in bringing our first ever, JA Stock Market Challenge, to life for 140 students.

“It is so rewarding. In sharing our stories, students gain confidence and make the connection between what they are learning in school to building a great career,” said Ana Cabato, Project Manager and Network Force Analyst at AT&T San Diego. Ana is instrumental in delivering the JA Job Shadow program to hundreds of high school students each year.

 "The kids light up when they see these business professionals enter their classrooms," said Bill Sears, a former Navy helicopter pilot, active member of the Bonita Kiwanis Club and a dedicated JA volunteer who has participated in 60 JA Days in the last few years. "The volunteers are teaching them the relevance of what they are learning in school to their real life."

We have a number of exciting volunteer opportunities before the end of this school year to meet your career expertise, personality and busy schedule. Please visit our website to see how you can get involved today: jasandiego.org

Thank you for your support of JA and making a difference,

Marla Black, President & CEO


JA Stock Market Challenge brings the Excitement of Wall Street to San Diego

Hundreds of high school students and business professionals from San Diego found out if they could “make it” in the fast-paced trading world of Wall Street at Junior Achievement’s first-ever Stock Market Challenge, sponsored by Qualcomm and Dowling & Yahnke.

“The room was filled with a lot of excitement and stress all rolled into one,” said Antonio Solares, a member of the 1st place winning student team from Montgomery High. “We carefully watched the stocks go up and down and decided, at the last minute, to take a calculated risk to invest in a smaller company. I am proud to say this decision earned us the title of the ‘Stock Market Champions.’ I learned so much from this program. I will definitely leave high school with a greater knowledge and understanding of how to invest, than most of my peers.”

The competition, hosted at Qualcomm on Tuesday, May 2, gave 140 students from ten-area high schools an opportunity to experience the thrill of the stock market during a live high-tech trading simulation. Later that evening, 12 corporate teams participated in this simulation.

The event is designed to connect teens to the future world of business and to raise funds to support JA’s life-changing financial literacy programs. We are thankful to event sponsors, Northwestern Mutual, Retirement Benefits Group, Intuit, Reilly Financial Advisors, and Synergy One Lending, who donated time and energy to make the event a huge success. JA is proud to announce the following winning teams:

• 1st place winning student team is “The Absent Group” from Montgomery High School representing the Sweetwater Union High School District. The group increased their portfolio by 26.5%. Members included: Anotonio Solares, Adan Gomez, Ashley Del Toro, Jorge Cerda and Christian Vela.

• 2nd place student team is “The Wildcats of Wall Street” from El Camino High School representing the Oceanside Unified School District. The group increased their portfolio by 25%. Members include: Jake Huggins, Serjie Lorenz Alforque, Garrett Hendren, Josten Ignacio and Katie Nelson.

• The adult winning team, Dowling & Yahnke scored the highest net-worth. Members include: Grant Webster, Scott Smerud, Dan Rubin and John Dudeck.


• The adult winning team, also from Dowling & Yanke, earned the largest Return of Investment (ROI). Members include: Dale Yahnke, Mike Brown, Jeff Gohsler and Todd Schneider.


Video Captures Magic at AT&T/ JA Job Shadow

We hope you will take a minute to watch the video that captures the magic of the AT&T and JA Job Shadow program. The financial and volunteer support of AT&T allows hundreds of high-risk students each year a chance to experience two of JA’s life-changing financial literacy programs, Mission Fed JA Finance Park and JA Job Shadow. Click here to watch video. 


And the JA Company Program winners are?

 San Diego's teen entrepreneurs are celebrating for scoring 1st, 2nd, 3rd place for creating the “best start-up company” at Junior Achievement’s Company Program High School Competition.  Sponsored by OtterCares Foundation, the event on Thursday, April 20, allowed fourteen student companies to pitch their products and services to a panel of judges from OtterBox, PEERS Network, i.d.e.a. and Pro Back Office.  The students are judged on ingenuity, marketing and finance. 

Congratulations to the following winning teams:

• 1st place: Coffishake Canyon Crest Academy. The student team designed and created a portable coffee-shaker that allows you to brew hot coffee or tea on the go.


• 2nd Place: VestraVerbam Westview High School. The student team created bracelets with a one word messaging that inspires and empowers young adults.

• 3rd Place: The Bigger Picture from Grossmont High School. The student team created a digital app to help teens have an easier time when applying to colleges and universities. The app includes deadlines for admissions, scholarship opportunities and a student loan calculator.

• Ingenuity Award, Jabberwocky Media from San Dieguito Academy. The CEO of the media company created a website where online visitors can share reviews of popular movies, TV shows, music and books.

• Best Showcase Booth, Pasta Man Tony from San Dieguito Academy. The high-school chefs share their love of pasta with the world by showcasing quick, easy, and fun recipes that anyone can do on their new You-Tube cooking channel.

“As a JA mentor for Canyon Crest Academy over the last three years, I can tell you students are amazed when they realize that starting a business can be a reality,” said Ken Schmitt, president of Turning Point Executive Search and JA Company Program Mentor of winning team Coffieshake. “The JA Company program is unique because it goes beyond the textbook and classroom, providing students the opportunity to turn their ideas into real, tangible businesses that generate real money. In my opinion there is no better way for young adults to learn than by actually doing and experiencing.”

The teen companies are a part of the JA Company Program®, in which high school students start and manage their own businesses from the ground-up. Students must decide on a product or service, market it to their classmates, family and neighbors, and carry the responsibility of managing company finances under the guidance of a JA mentor.  This program is a hallmark of JA that started back in 1919.

The young entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to compete at the Junior Achievement national competition to be held this summer in Washington, D.C.  The annual JA Company of the Year Competition, presented by The Hartford, is a contest of business skills, ingenuity and innovation that focuses on the accomplishments of teen teams from U.S. JA Company Program with nearly 15,000 U.S. students, ages 15-19, participating in the program


Corporate Volunteers Bring JA Days to Life

Junior Achievement has once again made a measurable impact on the next generation of San Diego's leaders thanks to some remarkable companies and their employees. We salute Balfour Beatty, Citibank, FedEx and Vista Chamber of Commerce for “going back to school” to bring financial literacy education to 3, 200 students in March and April.

Vista Chamber of Commerce Member, Scott Patterson brings financial literacy to Bobier Elementary in Vista.

Fed Ex team gives a thumbs up to Naranca Elementary’s JA Day in El Cajon.

Citibank team shows some muscle at Vista Grande Elementary's JA Day in El Cajon.


Balfour Beatty's Erica Frandsen teaches kindergarten students about money at Morning Creek Elementary in Poway. 


4.01 (k) Race for Financial Fitness

Thank you runners, walkers, pets and families who pounded the pavement in beautiful downtown San Diego for making our first-ever 4.01(k) Race for Financial Fitness in April a huge hit! The weather was perfect and the music rocking for our incredible team of runners. We appreciate the support of lead sponsor, Retirement Benefits Group for bringing the fun event to life. We are also grateful to teams from Mitchell International and Cubic Corporation for coming out and showing their support. Financial support from the event will help JA reach 75,000 students this year. Check out photos from the race at JA Facebook page.


Board Spotlight: Christina La Page

 Wells Fargo associates across San Diego County have dedicated 515 hours to impact 886 students this year by delivering JA’s financial literacy curriculum. The Wells Fargo team volunteered at the McGrath Family JA BizTown, Mission Fed JA Finance Park and at JA Days at elementary schools across the county.

“Both Wells Fargo’s volunteer commitment and the Wells Fargo Foundation's financial commitment would not be possible without the leadership of JA Board Member, Christina La Page, Vice President at Wells Fargo,” stated Tara Michener, JA VP of Development. “Wells Fargo Foundation’s commitment to promote academic achievement for low- and moderate income students aligns strategically with JA San Diego to give all students the opportunity to participate in JA programs,” stated Michener.

Thank you Christina La Page and the entire Wells Fargo team!


PwC Volunteers Bring JA Day to Life

Teaching students workforce readiness skills, such as, how to look someone in the eye and shake their hand, as well as, gain the confidence to compete for a job in today's global economy were the top lessons delivered during a recent JA Job Shadow.

The event, hosted by PwC & SDSU volunteers, aimed to prepare students at Mt. Miguel High School for career and future success.


Students enjoyed awe-inspiring guest speaker, Jose Rocha, Partner at Pwc and JA Board Member. He shared his personal story of success and challenged the students to acquire essential communication skills to land their dream jobs.


Tee Time at the Annual Billy Casper Golf Classic

We are grateful to our longtime partners, the Billy Casper family for once again hosting the annual Billy Casper Golf Classic. Although the golf legend passed away in 2015, his mission to support local nonprofits like JA, continues to live on through his family. We are proud of our JA five some, Mike Brown, Linde Hotchkiss Mike Schleyhahn, Brian Cahill, and Elizabeth Carter, who finished 2nd in the tournament.


Lights, Camera, Action

In case you missed it, check out our recent news coverage:

-KUSI featuring the winning teams from JA Company Program

-KGTV/ABC 10 News' spotlight on McGrath Family JA BizTown for April's Financial Literacy

Social Share:


POSTED MAY 16,2017