JA Alumni Story: Malik Hampton

Posted in: Alumni Stories

Sometimes big dreams have small beginnings, and for entrepreneur Malik Hampton, it started with ballpoint pens. He was in elementary school when he received Junior Achievement (JA) lessons, and one of the activities involved assembling ballpoint pens with his classmates. He vividly remembers seeing how fast they went working as a team and realizing the importance of collaboration. This was one of the many lessons he learned from JA that would help lead him to the path of entrepreneurship.

JA also taught Malik about budgeting, saving, and writing checks, along with concepts like how kids can become business owners when they grow up if they work hard. “It’s important for people to have this foundation,” he said. “It can be easy to become distracted and discouraged from the path towards entrepreneurship. Junior Achievement helped to teach me early the importance of leadership in our communities and the role businesses play.”

For Malik, JA provided a whole new perspective on work and filled in the gaps of what wasn’t being taught in school. He was able to learn important financial concepts, get a glimpse into what life would be like in the future, and start thinking about what job he might want to have — all while doing fun learning activities with his classmates.

Since then, Malik has earned a Bachelor of Arts in History and gained experience running events with City of Mesa Parks and Recreation and Young Life Christian ministry. He plans on earning a Master of Arts in Musicology at Arizona State University so he can learn more about developing music-based events and programs.

Malik still stays involved with JA and supports our mission to prepare Arizona students for work and life. Not only did he recently sign up to volunteer, he also made time to attend the JA Open House, where he toured our Tempe facility and networked with other professionals in the community.

He noted that JA lessons — which focus on career readiness, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship — will only become more important for society as time goes on. “The more the world globalizes and we all connect and get on the Internet, the more entrepreneurship is going to be important … [JA] gives kids a cool perspective on work and your role as a citizen. They make it fun.”

We couldn’t be happier to have Malik’s support and to see how far he’s come since that humble ballpoint pen building exercise. It goes to show that one simple moment in a student’s life can have a big ripple effect and lead to amazing outcomes!