JA Alumni Story: Gio Richmond

Posted in: Alumni Stories

Some experiences are so valuable that they stick with you no matter how much time has passed. For Gio Richmond, one of those experiences was attending JA BizTown in 5th grade. Leading up to the JA BizTown field trip, Junior Achievement of Arizona (JA) volunteers went to Gio’s school to teach him and his classmates financial skills like how to write a check, balance a checkbook, and use a bank account. It got him thinking about the importance of tracking how much money you have so you can spend and save accordingly. He also learned career readiness skills, including how to write a resume and ace a job interview, which would prove to be very useful later in life.

Gio reached new heights at JA BizTown, where he became a Flight Instructor at US Airways. It gave him an idea of what it’d be like to earn a paycheck, pay bills, and repay a loan. “It was very valuable to have that experience as a kid,” he said.

He also recalled enjoying the sense of personal freedom he had as an 11-year-old spending the day as an adult. He was responsible for his own financial success, but in the safety of the student-sized town, preparing him for the future when it’d be real.

As time went on, Gio continued building upon the work and life skills that JA introduced to him. After graduating from high school, he started attending the University of Arizona and working at the career services center, where he helped students put their resumes together. It made him realize just how valuable the JA lessons were since many college students who hadn’t received JA programming were just now learning career readiness skills.

Gio graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor’s Degree in Law and Psychology in 2019. He’s currently a Grants Coordinator at Senator Kelly’s office and recently attended a Hispanic Leadership Institute meeting hosted by JA. After revisiting JA BizTown, he said he’s glad it’s still around since the experience gets kids thinking about finances and sets them up to become go-getters in the job market.

“When I have kids, I’d hopefully want them to be a part of [JA BizTown] too.”