OKLAHOMA CITY– Junior Achievement (JA) is worth its weight in gold, advocates of the group say. That’s what you’ll hear when you talk with participants and volunteers, both past and present. This year marks 50 years for JA of Oklahoma, and the OKC Region of JA is celebrating big during Financial Literacy Month in April.
Events for the celebration include the opening of Finance Park and a special day for reporters in the local news media to experience JA for themselves, as well as the Business Success Luncheon.
Over the past 50 years, hundreds of thousands of students have benefited from JA programs. Many report that they have carried what they learned in the program into adulthood, setting them up for a successful financial future. Last year alone, 4,011 volunteers invested time to empower 56,243 students in 286 schools across 66 districts.
“It is especially exciting to be celebrating 50 years, and to hear all of the success stories from past students,” says Jo Wise, OKC Regional Director, Junior Achievement of Oklahoma. “It re-enforces what we’ve known all along, that JA is making a huge impact on our communities.”
Patrick B. McGuigan, publisher and editor of The City Sentinel newspaper, praised JA leaders for keeping the program relevant and life-changing for a new generation of Oklahomans.
In the early 1970s, McGuigan participated in JA, becoming first a youth insurance salesman, and then a radio program host. In 1971, he was designated the vice president of sales and marketing of the year in local JA. McGuigan says the program deeply influenced his life.
“JA had a big impact on my life, and was one of the key factors that eventually made me comfortable with public speaking. I learned fundamental principles of economics and business with hands-on experience. And, like most youngsters, I had some anxiety when addressing people I did not know.JA made a difference for me, helping me to build self-confidence while affirming my belief in free markets and free people. JA continues to make a difference for children and young people today,” McGuigan said.
Junior Achievement events marking Financial Literacy Month include:
Finance Park, Chamber Ribbon Cutting | March 30 | 10:30 a.m. | Francis Tuttle Reno Campus, 7301 W Reno. Join JA leaders and supporters for the official Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce Ribbon Cutting ceremony. Students, volunteers and staff will be on hand to share information about this new learning experience for Oklahoma’s youth.
Media Day: April 3 | 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. | Finance Park, Francis Tuttle Reno Campus, 7301 W Reno (limited to members of the news media). Journalists are invited to experience Finance Park in action. They will have the opportunity to see students in action and possibly give it a try for themselves.
Business Success Luncheon: April 20 | 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. | Central OK Homebuilders Event Center, 430 E Britton Rd. This luncheon, featuring keynote speaker Chad Richison, founder & CEO of Paycom, honors volunteers and businesses who invest in the economic and academic futures of Oklahoma students. Tables of eight can be purchased for $300, individual seats are $50.
RSVPs are required and can be made online at jaok.org or by calling 405.300.1023.
About Junior Achievement of Oklahoma: 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. JA 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.