Junior Achievement, also known as JA, is a nationwide nonprofit that pairs with schools around the country to help prepare students for future success.
JA has reached around 3,400 students in Muscatine alone, pairing with grades K-12. JA’s focus is to provide schools with programs that cover their three main points of emphasis: financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship.
Schools can sign up for programs offered by Junior Achievement that they think will be most suitable for their students, and volunteers from the community come in and teach the courses to the students.
Tawnya Hambly, the public relations director for JA, says, “I wish I would have had
something like this as a kid.” Hambly has been with JA for 17 years, and she shares stories of students learning real-life lessons through programs such as JA Biztown, a program where kids are assigned a job for a day and budget while working at a business.
“There was a boy who was willing to skip his break because he had to cover other people’s duties during their breaks, and he wanted to catch up on his own work,” she says. “We obviously let him have a break, but it was a real-life lesson for him to be willing to skip a break because he knew he needed to get his work done.”
As a nonprofit, JA is funded through donations and fundraisers. On February 10, JA is hosting one of their biggest fundraisers of the year, their annual Bowl-a-Thon. This fundraiser brings funding for JA that allows students to continue to benefit from their services.
Anyone is welcome to make a team for the bowl-a-thon. Teams require five members and each team pays $50 to participate. The $50 covers their lane, bowling ball, and shoe rental. Teams are also required to fundraise $300 as a team for the program. The event features bowling, raffles, and even a diamond giveaway from Necker’s Jewelers.
“We serve all kids, and no matter what background they come from, they can benefit from the programs we have. We want to turn their ‘I cant’s’ into ‘I cans,’” Hambly says.
JA is still looking for bowling teams to participate in the Bowl-a-Thon. Contact Tawnya at (309) 736-1630 for more information.