The JA Stock Market Challenge student events are exciting, inspiring and highly educational. If you have ever attended one of these events, you know that they are also very, very loud. We are thrilled to offer experiences for students that fuel this kind of passion for learning. To hear students shout, cheer, and sometimes groan, while navigating the ins and outs of investing is music to my ears. But what really warms my heart is all of the quiet work that goes into making these types of experiences possible.
When you look away from center stage, behind the “JA curtain,” there are thousands of people who quietly show up time and time again to ensure that students are prepared for a bright future. Their selflessness is expressed in countless ways and its impact can be felt throughout every aspect of our work. For example, you might not know that Jake Jabs believes so strongly about the importance of financial literacy and entrepreneurship that he donates 6,000 square feet in the Thornton American Furniture Warehouse to house JA Finance Park. And, we may not have told you that our dedicated JA board members do much more than provide resources to the organization – they generously share their vast business experience and knowledge and serve as trusted advisors to JA staff. And would you believe that several of our JA Business Week company advisors sacrifice an entire week’s worth of vacation time to mentor teenagers? I could go on and on, but this message would start to sound, well, noisy.
The energy and enthusiasm we create for our mission is often loud – and that’s a good thing. After all, our message of hope and opportunity is truly exciting. However, next time you hear about or experience a JA program or event like the JA Stock Market Challenge, take a moment to peek behind the curtain and applaud the amazing individuals who are quietly, selflessly, making success possible for our young people.