On January 7, 2020, Michelle Anderson, President of JA Maine (R), and Jodi Mezzanotte, Assistant Superintendent of Westbrook School Dept (L), spoke to us about JA and about programs planned for Westbrook and Gorham. Michelle oversees all JA of Maine operations, including strategic vision, fundraising, partnership development, and mission expansion. She has been with the organization for over 10 years, starting her career as an intern upon college graduation. Jodi is on the JA Board of Directors and head of their Education Committee.
Junior Achievement has three areas of focus: financial literacy, workforce readiness skills and entrepreneurship.  They have nationally developed, age-appropriate programming for grades Kindergarten through High School using experiential games and activities delivered by volunteers in the classroom. Programming is offered state-wide and is free to all school partners.
Both Westbrook and Gorham schools have a strong partnership with JA.  In Westbrook, every student in grades K-8 will have a “JA Experience” this year. Gorham is planning for the same with every student in grades 2-7.  Since this is all done by volunteers, lots of people are needed to make this happen.
Traditional JA involved five visits over five weeks with the same volunteer working with the same classroom each time.  “JA in a Day” is a program where several volunteers participate on a single day and the classrooms participating have JA programming for their whole school day.  Westbrook is interested in doing JA in a Day for grades 5-8 this school year.
K-5 now represents more than 50% of JA programming being delivered.  Another large piece is grades 6-8.  With current high school graduation requirements, it is harder to fit in JA opportunities at that level. Westbrook is hoping to identify opportunities using JA in a Day and a speaker program. 
To learn more about JA Maine or to become a volunteer, go to: www.jamaine.org/getinvolved