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JA of Western MA

1500 Main Street
Suite 217
Springfield, MA 01085

Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts is dedicated to providing economic education and financial literacy programs to the youth of western Massachusetts and Vermont.
At 16, did you have what it takes to run a viable nonprofit? Young entrepreneurs Jackie, Emily, and Sierra joined in a business venture to support police dogs fighting drugs. Pitching to businesses just weeks after the girls' formation of Raise the Pooch, they received 1st place recognition in JA’s enTEENpreneur Challenge. RTP seemed to have it all in place to compete in a national entrepreneur competition in D.C. – homemade dog treats, emotional mission, RTP t-shirts, appealing logo, and marketing that was bar none – but they didn’t meet the competition’s criteria. RTP couldn't present treats because they weren’t FDA certified.

With 3 weeks to revamp, the teens got to work with help of mentors during and after school. The application process was daunting; RTP had to fashion a new product, create a catchy video commercial, and showcase the team’s business performance through an annual report. Full of belief in the organization’s potential, the support of dedicated teachers, Ms. Skowyra and Ms. Etzweiler, and passion for entrepreneurial spirit, the team was determined to succeed.

Jackie, Emily, and Sierra patiently, but not so patiently, await the announcement of finalists May 12. For now, they are ready to compete in a state-wide competition to display their support of a local K-9 unit as well as RTP’s new product, stainless steel dog tags for both humans and canines. “The main focus is to try and do whatever we can to help get drugs off the streets,” said RTP’s mentor, Amy Skowyra. The cost to set up a K-9 unit is roughly $25,000. “It will serve as a great opportunity for them to get involved and help local communities in a positive way."

You can give our students a similar experience that will make a difference for a lifetime. At JA, we teach life, but we can’t do it alone. Join us?

  • $25: sponsors a student to join JA Company Program
  • $50: materials for JA Company Program
  • $100: activities in JA Company Program
  • $150: tablet for JA Company Program
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