JA Alumni Story: Maggie Farry

Posted in: Alumni Stories

Maggie may have only been a 5th grader when she was introduced to JA, but it was quickly evident that she was a part of something revolutionary for youth. From JA BizTown to Capitol Hill, Maggie’s journey ultimately brought her full circle to helping students.

Maggie attended Desert Cove Elementary School in Arizona and was fortunate to have Junior Achievement as a component of her fifth-grade curriculum. Her instructors offered JA lessons on topics like balancing a checkbook, financial wellness and independence, and what it means to have a job. This was all a precursor to a field trip to what was then called “Exchange City” but is now known as JA BizTown.

“I recall the election process for who would be the Mayor [of Exchange City],” Maggie reflected during a recent interview. “I was the campaign manager leading up to the election, but I ultimately ended up working in a sign shop when we went on the field trip.” Like her peers, Maggie worked an “adult job” at Exchange City for the day, earning a wage, acting as a consumer, and paying off a business loan. To this day, she still remembers the thrill of it all.

After her schooling, she moved to Washington D.C. and worked for members of Congress, where she fondly recalled her days as “campaign manager”. From there she met the CEO of Earn to Learn, a nonprofit organization that provides scholarships for students seeking post-secondary education. Shortly before departing Capitol Hill, she wrote the Earn to Learn Act, which would allow states and organizations to provide matched educational savings accounts for low-income students.

Now an employee of Earn to Learn, Maggie gets to mentor students and work with other nonprofits in Arizona who are supporting financial literacy efforts – like JA! Coming full circle, she was able to retrace her steps at JA BizTown and reflect on her experience as a child.

“I’ve worked with people who are in college and looking to get their first jobs. It’s hard to prepare students for careers in the school system,” she noted. “JA supplements what’s happening in the high schools and colleges and gives students a look at what society really looks like. I think the exposure to a business environment early on is highly beneficial.”

We are thankful to now call Maggie and Earn to Learn community partners as we come together to empower people to own their future economic success!