JA: A Model of Resilience
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When faced with a challenge, it is often difficult to adapt quickly. And as the challenges of the pandemic spread across the world, its impact was a detriment to many companies and organizations. Without flexibility, determination, and, ultimately, resiliency, many did not make it.
Enter: Junior Achievement of Arizona (JA). Founded upon the principle of changing with the changing future, they were prepared to face the obstacles that came with a global crisis. Educational programs that were once delivered to students in classrooms throughout Arizona’s schools became innovative digital experiences that could be accessed from wherever students were learning. Events quickly pivoted to digital platforms that were ultimately able to engage a wider audience without the constraints to travel to a physical location.
And, most importantly, Arizona’s youth were still able to receive the critical skills they need to be successful in work and life. These include work readiness, financial literacy, entrepreneurial skills that empower students to achieve their dreams and reach their potential. For over 60 years, Junior Achievement has been working to brighten the futures of students across Arizona, but who could have anticipated the massive adjustments that would be needed with the COVID-19 pandemic?
That’s not to say JA did not feel the worldwide economic sting. Furloughs were made, hiring stopped, and budget lines got smaller. But resilience means doing what you must to continue doing what’s right. Overcoming these supposed setbacks that may have taken down many other organizations was a team effort that ultimately resulted in a stronger, laser-focused organization better equipped to continue its mission in the new economic climate.
And so, what does resilience meant to JA? It is the same skill we instill in the 60,000+ students we serve – the ability to overcome adversity, adapt quickly, and continue moving forward despite setbacks. This is the mindset needed for the next generation to make lasting positive change on our communities. This is the attitude needed for this generation to feel empowered to face the challenges of tomorrow. Without resilience, our students, our businesses, and our communities will be stifled in a quickly-evolving world.
It is because of JA’s resilience over the years that our students will be well equipped to make their own choices for the future and succeed in their endeavors. And so when I think of resilience, I think of JA – not just an example of resilience, but a beacon of hope for students and organizations everywhere.
Author: Carina Inganamort, JA Communications Specialist