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Dear JA Friend,

With the new year, comes new changes in Junior Achievement programs. We are excited to announce, Junior Achievement is embarking on a transformation of its middle school and high school programs. This transformation will provide for blended learning utilizing iPads, tablets, and/or laptops to involve the students in consultant led activities. We are continuing to pilot these programs and appreciate the educators and volunteers who are providing us feedback so the best JA programs can be made available.

As a friend of JA, thank you for your commitment to empowering young people to own their future economic success, and helping us make it all possible.  

Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year from your friends at Junior Achievement! Read on to learn more.

Lena Yarian
Lena Yarian, President   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

Spark boy with wth logo withGreenBkgrd

Record Breaking Year Announced at Annual Meeting

The Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors of Junior Achievement of Northern Indiana was held on September 22, 2015. It was announced that JANI had another record breaking year. JANI served 125,957 students during the 2014-15 school year!  

Board Chairman, Doug Wood announced some other impressive numbers.  Since the inception of JA Finance Park®, JANI has served 75,051 students, and since the inception of the former Exchange City, now known as JA BizTown®, JANI has served 112,534 students! 

In other news, the new Paul E. Shaffer Scholarship Recipient, Kyler Boots, was introduced. Kyler is currently a freshman at IPFW who is studying Mechanical Engineering Technology. He was involved in JA for nine years, and has been active in supporting fundraising efforts for our organization. Kyle thanked the Shaffers for their generosity through the scholarship.

The existing JANI Board of Directors were joined, over the last year, by the following individuals:
   • Dana Berkes, NIPSCO
     • Rob Boyd, Salin Bank
     • Michael Cahill, Physicians Health Plan of Northern Indiana
     • Tim Klage, Ambassador Enterprises
     • Marc Lewis, Indiana Michigan Power
     • Dr. Matthew Smith, University of Saint Francis
     • Tony Tranquill, Wayne Pipe & Supply
     • Michael Wallace, STAR Financial
     • R. Scott Weiskittel, Lutheran Hospital
     • Tracy Williams, Fort Wayne Community Schools

JA President, Lena Yarian awarded Service Awards to several deserving staff members; Darinda Gres-Smith and Janet Howard. Dorothy Shaffer received special regonition as she has only missed one Annual Board Meeting in over 50 years!

A big thank you to everyone who has helped JANI have such a successful 2014-15 school year! 

JA Spotlight

What makes a great volunteer? At Junior Achievement we believe that people who bring their best to work each day, bring their best to their volunteer effort in the classroom. We can find an exceptional example of passionate professionalism in Ed Ruppel.

EdRuppelEd started his career in 1965 working with computers, but quickly realized that he had a passion for teaching after volunteering with JA. Ed explained that even when the students seemed to be having a bad day, they would be willing to sit down and work with him on the JA program. But it was not just the students who enjoyed the JA classes, Ed recalls how teaching JA brought a great deal of personal satisfaction and fulfillment to his life as well. “When you walk out of the classroom the kids give you cards or posters; that’s what is all about. It is a volunteer organization, and you volunteer because you WANT to be there.”

Maybe the reason that Ed’s students stayed so engaged were some of theteaching methods that Ed brought to the classroom. When posed with some “uncomfortable” questions students regularly asked him such as how much money he made or how old he was; instead of fumbling, Ed would turn those questions into a learning opportunity. For instance, he would tell the students that he was born during the year that the only president was elected to serve a fourth term and they had to be able to tell him how old he was by the time they completed the JA program.

In fact, one of Ed's goals as a volunteer is to make the JA program relevant for the students. Amy Decker, an educator from Perry Hill Elementary, who worked closely with Ed for nearly eighteen years, said that he always arrived early and showed a genuine interest in what was happening in the classroom. Amy said that Ed was, “so good at connecting our classroom happenings into his specific JA lesson, and always related the importance to the student’s jobs as learners.”

Everyone we spoke with indicated that Ed is most proud of his family; his wife Mary, with whom he will be celebrating fifty-two years of marriage next month, and their children, whose hard work and successes were always used by Ed as examples to inspire students. Tonya Chastain, a teacher at Perry Hill Elementary, says that Ed always drew on his family and their experiences while teaching Junior Achievement, explaining to the students how higher education helped lead his children to success. Ed even asks students to write newspaper articles, and he publishes, with the help of his wife, a mini-newspapers at home for them.

The amount of time that Ed Ruppel has committed to teaching Junior Achievement has not gone unnoticed.  He has taught an astonishing forty-nine classes over eighteen years. He received the prestigious JA Golden Achievement Award in 2015, which recognizes JA educators and volunteers for excellence in economic education. Ed's commitment to JA extends beyond being a classroom volunteer, as he has also served as a guest trainer for new volunteers and has been an avid proponent of JA by encouraging the students in his Indiana Tech classes to become JA volunteers as well. 

Ed Ruppel's dedication and passion can be felt the moment he steps into the classroom. We know that he has changed the lives of all of the students that he has so generously given his time. We want to thank Ed and all of our Junior Achievement volunteers for all you do every day to make a difference in the lives of the students in our JA area!

If you are interested in participating as a JA Classroom Volunteer, please click here or call (260) 484-2543. If you know an outstanding volunteer that you would like to nominate for the “Spark! Spotlight”, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

JA Introduces New Tools for a New Generation

Every generation has had its own idea of the American Dream. For some, it meant a secure job that could provide for home and family. For others, it was a rewarding career or starting a business. For today's generation, it could be as simple as "being happy." 

Regardless of how the American Dream is defined, having opportunity and the ability to take advantage of it is critical to achieving a better life. With a global economy driven by 21st century skills; technological innovation happening at an unprecedented level; and a growing need for science, math and other STEM skills in today's workplace, achieving the American Dream is becoming a greater challenge for today's young people. The opportunity cost is being felt in every aspect of our society. 

To address this challenge, JA USA is developing the JA Education Gateway, a comprehensive initiative that merges JA's proven volunteer-based delivery model with the latest technology to create a blended learning environment that provides a relevant, responsive, and innovative portfolio of learning experiences. 

The JA Education Gateway is a five-year, multi-million dollar initiative to digitize the JA experience and optimize the impact of our volunteers. It will reach more students in more relevant ways that better accommodate students' diverse learning. The blended learning approach is:
          Effective – A U.S. Department of Education meta-study shows blended learning is more effective than online-only learning models, especially when it relates to at-risk populations.
          In Demand – A 2012 study by the State Educational Technology Directors Association notes that more than half of all states now offer full-time online or virtual schools.
          Required – Five states now require high school students to take at least one online course, according to U.S. News & World Reports. This is a trend that is expected to continue.

What does this mean for you? Educators and volunteer should expect to start to see updated JA program at the middle and high school level over the next several years. The JA Global Marketplace® and JA Personal Finance® programs have already been developed in the new blended format and will be moving from the kit based program entirely during the 2016-17 school year. The JA It’s My Business!® and the JA It’s My Future!® programs are currently in the redevelopment process. All of these programs will pair technology based activities with volunteer-lead instructions to create the blended experience. Many of these programs will offer additional enhancement lessons that may be educator-taught after the core of the program has been completed. For a preview of the JA Global Marketplace program, check on the video above. 

Frontier BDDrive Toward Success

Junior Achievement is very fortunate to have so many individuals and businesses who donate both their time and resources to our organization on a yearly basis. The JA letter campaigns and phone drives will continue through March across our JA region. The results are still rolling in from the Allen County Business Drive which took place in November. JANI had a total of ten teams and many individual Board Members participate in the phone drive that ‘nailed’ the construction theme this year. To date, JANI has nearly $90,000 in pledges! 

Mike Eikenberry, currently holds the top fund-raiser title for the Allen County Business Drive, with Cammy Treadway and Dave Davis, both from Lake City Bank, vying for second and third place! Lake City Bank has engaged more callers than any other organization and is currently the top company fund-raiser.  

Thank you to all who willingly participated this year to make a real difference for children across our 30 county Junior Achievement service area! Click here to learn more about a campaign near you.

Junior Achievement Educator Enrichment Conference

The Junior Achievement Educator Enrichment Conference will be held on March 16, 2016. Educators participating in middle school and high school JA programs will receive details soon. This year's conference, will discuss current needs and gaps of employers, with a panel of Human Resource Specialists and Hiring Managers from organizations around the JANI region. For more information contact Maureen Shippy at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Across the Region 

Check out events and opportunities across the region, like the Noble County Jazz In The Barn event on March 18th, by clicking here.

Free Tickets:  Mad Ants JA Appreciation

MadAntLogoIn the support of JA, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants will be providing FREE TICKETS to Junior Achievement Board Members, Educators, Volunteers, and Supporters for the February 5th game where the Mad Ants will be taking on the Canton Charge. Meet with the Mad Ant mascot and Madame Ants dancers in the Ant Colony section at 6:45 p.m. and the game begins at 7:30 p.m. Thank you to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants for appreciating the work of our JA community! Free tickets MUST be ordered PRIOR to February 3rd!

Komet Hockey Tickets: $6 JA Nights

The Fort Wayne Komet Hockey Club is providing discounted ticket for Junior Achievement. These $6 upper area tickets will be available for the January 29th and February 19th games. 

KometsLogo    January 29, 2016 at 8:00 p.m. EST - Fort Wayne Komets vs. Cincinnati Cyclones 
     (tickets must be purchased by Jan. 27th at 11 p.m.)
   February 19, 2016 at 8:00 p.m. EST - Fort Wayne Komets vs Toledo Walleye 
     (tickets must be purchased by Feb. 17th at 11 p.m.)
For more information contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

JA empowers young people to own their future economic success by enhancing the relevancy of education. During this 2015-16 school year, nearly 126,000 young people in pre-kindergarten through high school classrooms across 27 counties in northern Indiana, 2 counties in Michigan, and 1 county in Ohio will experience the benefits of JA learning. 

If you would like to support Junior Achievement by making a donation, please click here to donate. We appreciate your support!