Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida hosted a Volunteer Appreciation Event on Aug. 8 at The Club at Grandezza in Estero to recognize the many volunteers committed to bringing the Junior Achievement curriculum to students throughout Southwest Florida.

The annual appreciation event brought generous volunteers together for an evening of refreshments and networking to celebrate a record-breaking year of student impact. Throughout the 2018-19 school year, Junior Achievement partnered with more than 270 classroom business volunteers to deliver lessons on financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship to more than 12,498 students in Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties.

Junior Achievement also honored a number of individuals and businesses for their contributions during an awards ceremony held during the event.

In celebration of Junior Achievement USA’s 100th anniversary, the JA Centennial Leadership Award was given to Jim Shields for work with Estero’s “2,5,8, Graduate” program. Shields spearheaded the recruitment of more than 97 new volunteers to bring Junior Achievement programs to all Estero schools, impacting over 1,300 area students. In addition, Shields created the “Breaking Par at Grandezza” golf tournament, which in more than seven years has raised $382,000 for Junior Achievement.

Other recognitions included Volunteer of the Year-Lee County: Deborah Wingerson, who led seven different programs at seven schools in Lee and Charlotte counties, reaching more than 200 students; Volunteer of the Year-Collier County: Al Kozel, a volunteer of more than 10 years, served more than 80 hours this year, often volunteering three days a week at Vineyards Elementary School while also helping implement programs in Everglades City; JA Organization of the Year-Collier & Lee Counties: IBERIABANK, which in the 2018-19 school year helped serve over 475 students in Lee County and over 300 students in Collier County, and coordinated a Job Shadow program for the students of Immokalee High School; and JA Board of Directors, Chair Eagle Award: Curt Todd, who has served on the board of directors for more than 10 years, most recently as chair, in addition to volunteering in the classroom and assisting with volunteer recruitment.

“Volunteers are key to bringing Junior Achievement programs to local students, and their varied skills and business experiences truly make an impact on our youth,” said Angela Fisher, president and CEO of Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida, “Our mission is not possible without the generosity of our local community, sharing their time and wisdom to help prepare our students for successful futures in the workplace, and words simply cannot express how grateful our team is for their valued contributions.”

Volunteer opportunities are described in detail at www.JASWFL.org, and those who are interested in learning more about becoming a volunteer can call the Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida office at 239-225-2590.

 

About Junior Achievement:

Junior Achievement is the world’s largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices. Junior Achievement programs are delivered by corporate and community volunteers, and provide relevant, hands-on experiences that give students from kindergarten through high school knowledge and skills in financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship. Today, JA reaches 4.8 million students per year in more than 100 markets across the United States, with an additional 5.6 million students served by operations over 100 other countries worldwide. Locally, Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida partnered with more than 270 classroom business volunteers during the 2018-2019 school year to provide nearly 70,200 hours of instruction to nearly 12,500 students in 520 classes throughout Collier, Lee and Charlotte counties. For more information on Junior Achievement of Southwest Florida, visit www.JASWFL.org, call 239-225-2590 or email info@jaswfl.org.