By Tamas Mondovics
Junior Achievement (JA) of Tampa Bay, a non-profit organization which, through its programs, provides young people the knowledge and skills of economic literacy, was pleased to receive a sizable donation supporting its goals of reaching more students by means of a brand new JA Finance Park facility.
The $1.7 million grant gift—the largest donation in Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay’s nearly three decades long history—was made by the SunTrust Foundation, to support the construction of a brand new 18,000 sq. ft. facility, to be known as JA Finance Park presented by SunTrust.
Speaking on behalf of the SunTrust Foundation, Allen Brinkman, president and chief executive officer of SunTrust’s West Florida Division said, “We are excited to partner with Junior Achievement to bring financial education to life for young people. Through this program students will make real life financial decisions and learn lessons that we hope will last a lifetime.”
According to Richard George, president of Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay, like JA Biztown, the new JA Finance Park will be an interactive market place representative of the local business community, including health care, media, communication, utilities.
The difference is that the center gives secondary school students the opportunity not to run a company or a business, but to experience potential personal financial futures first-hand.
“Students receive a ‘life situation’ with job, income, education, and family scenarios,” George said, adding that based on their adult persona, students visit businesses in the simulation to gather information to make financial decisions, such as managing a household budget, using banking services, and making purchasing and investment decisions.
The new park will reach close to 18,000 students each year. 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.
Construction of the new facility is expected to begin within a year and in consultation with Hillsborough County it will be located in the University Area Community Development at 13707 N 22nd St. in Tampa. For more information, visit www.jatampabay.org.