For the past two years, instead of the usual corporate holiday gift-giving, Hostway has chosen to give back to the communities that support us. Last year, in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, our course was clear – our many customers, partners, and friends needed us.
For 2013, we decided to ask our employees for ideas of nonprofit partners – some local to our offices, some national or international – where we could make a difference. Eventually, we had a list of five organizations. Through social networks, chatting with our customers and employee engagement, we asked the Hostway family to decide on a winner.
That winner, as it turned out, was one of our oldest customers – Junior Achievement of Chicago.
This week, we had the opportunity to ask Margie Cahow, Senior Manager of Development and Marketing at Junior Achievement of Chicago, a few questions about the important work they do.
Q: Tell us more about the work that you do in Chicago and how the Hostway donation will help you do that work.
A: We give young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices. Our corporate and community volunteers deliver relevant, hands-on experiences that give students from kindergarten through high school knowledge and skills in financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship.
Junior Achievement programs empower students to make a connection between what they learn in school and how it can be applied in the real world – enhancing the relevance of their classroom learning and increasing their understanding of the value of staying in school. In particular, JA programs meet the needs of a diverse group of students by providing engaging and experiential learning sessions in work-readiness education. We provide course materials, which are given at no cost to thousands of Chicago area classrooms for teachers, volunteers, and students to use. JA of Chicago is the largest JA office of more than 120 area offices in the United States and reached an all-time high of 445,460 students during the 2012-2013 school year.
Funding from Hostway means that more students will receive economic education programs to help them understand how they can reach their dreams. With $10,000 funding from Hostway, Junior Achievement will implement 20 classes (at $500 per class) to reach approximately 440 students of all races, ethnic backgrounds and physical capabilities.
Q: How does financial literacy and entrepreneurship help children succeed?
A: With high youth unemployment and a troubled economy, the need for JA programs delivering important lessons about entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and work readiness has never been greater.
The need for young people to be financially literate and understand the possible return they will see by a chosen career path and educational attainment has never been more important. The U.S. is facing historically high unemployment of more than 16 percent for adults between the ages of 16 and 24, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Student loan payments are continuing to climb, while the workforce is becoming more competitive and demanding. Funding and support from Hostway will help ensure that the future workforce is adequately prepared with the knowledge and skills needed to meet the demands of employers and their future. JA students gain the personal financial knowledge necessary to meet personal fiscal challenges and obligations, take advantage of economic opportunities, and plan courses of action to achieve goals.
Q: If our partners, customers, or employees would like to learn more about JA-Chicago or JA national, what should they do?
A: To get involved with Junior Achievement of Chicago or to learn more visit our website at: www.jachicago.org/ Whether you are an individual that works for a large organization, a community organization, a university, or a local school, we have levels of involvement to suit the interests of people in our community. JA offers flexible levels of involvement and commitment. With the help of thousands of people from a diverse range of backgrounds and fields, Junior Achievement of Chicago continues to grow year after year.