How JA programs encourage good citizenship in students
Author: Catherine Van Weele
Published: Monday, 01 Nov 2021
Image caption: JA Programs & Citizenship
Junior Achievement of San Diego County’s programs are built on three pillars of success - financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship. There are more lessons to gain from JA programs beyond these three pillars. JA programs focus on instilling a sense of good citizenship in students. We want our students to grow up and become engaged members of their local communities. Students are encouraged to explore their role in society and find ways to participate and contribute to their communities.
Let’s look at some of the ways JA programs promote good citizenship:
Being productive society members
JA programs inspire students to actively participate in their community. By preparing students for the workforce, we empowering students to be contributors to the economy. People can be productive members of society not only through their work and careers but also through other aspects of their lives. We want our students to have a sense of purpose, to take responsibility, and to set a good example for others to follow.
Voting in elections
As part of the McGrath Family JA BizTown program, students elect a mayor of BizTown for the simulation portion of the program. Students who choose to be mayoral candidates are introduced to running a campaign and all students learn how to take part in the democratic process. Students firsthand begin to understand their role in a democratic society. Students are then taught the importance of voting in elections and the importance of choosing a representative to act and serve the people.
Taking on leadership roles
Students can develop their leadership skills through all JA programs. JA programs champion the value of being a self-starter and a visionary. Students are encouraged to be role models for others, take on leadership responsibilities, and pioneer innovation. Students will be able to translate these skills into real-world applications to make a positive impact in their communities.
Solving problems in the community
In programs like JA Ambassadors, students identify problems in their community or society and develop proposals on how to solve the selected issue through business. A good citizen wants to help improve their communities and understands the importance in taking action. This program prompts students to take initiative and equips them with the knowledge and skills needed to address community issues in the future.
JA partners emphasize the importance of giving back by donating or volunteering, particularly during high school level programs. With the support of volunteers who contribute to JA programs through mentorships or serving as guest speakers, students witness others give back to their community firsthand. As the direct beneficiaries of community members giving back, students can recognize the significance giving back has and will inspire them to give back in their own ways in the future.