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President of Junior Achievement USA visits Villas Elementary in Fort Myers, offers praise to JA of Southwest Florida

Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida is flourishing because of this region’s commitment to financial education and business leaders who are willing to help, according to Jack Kosakowski, president and CEO of Junior Achievement USA.

On Thursday, April 11, Kosakowski visited Villas Elementary in Fort Myers to observe a Junior Achievement lesson in person. Through JA’s “Our City” program, third-graders were learning how to manage money and why it’s important to have economic exchange within a community. The day’s lesson focused on earning, saving, spending and donating.

After the session, Kosakowski was particularly impressed by JA’s volunteers that day, which represented SHRM SWFL, the local affiliate for the Society for Human Resource Management. In 2019, JA USA is celebrating its 100th anniversary, while JA of Southwest Florida is marking its 25th anniversary. Every year, more local youth are introduced to JA’s engaging, informative curriculum in their school classrooms as programs continue to grow in size and popularity.

“What that tells you is there is community support behind the program,” Kosakowski said. “Clearly, here in Southwest Florida, you have the business leadership engaged and involved in making this happen.”

More than 200 volunteers across Southwest Florida take turns leading sessions on financial literacy, entrepreneurship and work readiness in elementary, middle and high school classrooms. Kosakowski would like to see JA offered at more schools across Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties.

“In order to reach more young people, we need more volunteers,” Kosakowski said. “They are the folks who breathe life into the curriculum that we have developed and provide that role model to students in the classroom.”

“We have been blessed with some truly amazing, passionate volunteers who help carry out JA programs,” added Angela Fisher, president and CEO of Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida. “In every classroom, you can sense the excitement and enthusiasm as children learn about economics, money management and other business concepts, and I’m glad Jack was able to see firsthand that the JA curriculum is having such a positive impact on students.”

Kosakowski’s visit, which coincided with Financial Literacy Month, also included attendance at a formal reception to honor three individuals who are being inducted into the Business Hall of Fame, Lee County. On Thursday, April 18, JA of Southwest Florida will induct Dave Copham, founder of Liberty Check Printers, and Scott and Diana Willis, owner-operators of Jason’s Deli of Southwest Florida, into its Business Hall of Fame, a prestigious honor that recognizes outstanding entrepreneurs who serve as role models for youth through their professional accomplishments and commitment to the community.

For more information, please visit www.JASWFL.org or call 239-225-2590.

About Junior Achievement:

Junior Achievement is the world’s largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices. Junior Achievement programs are delivered by corporate and community volunteers, and provide relevant, hands-on experiences that give students from kindergarten through high school knowledge and skills in financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship. Today, JA reaches 4.8 million students per year in more than 100 markets across the United States, with an additional 5.6 million students served by operations over 100 other countries worldwide. Locally, Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida partnered with more than 200 classroom business volunteers during the 2017-2018 school year to provide nearly 63,800 hours of instruction to more than 11,600 students in 519 classes throughout Collier, Lee and Charlotte counties. For more information on Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida, visit www.JASWFL.org, call 239-225-2590 or email info@jaswfl.org.

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