Dear JA Friend,

Welcome to 2013! At JA, we’re excited about the new year and the thousands of learning sessions scheduled for more than 105,000 pre-kindergarten through high school young people across northern Indiana. As a friend of JA, thank you for your commitment to empowering young people to own their future economic success.

Lena Yarian
Lena Yarian, President This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Spark! Newsletter

Innovating to Increase Student Learning

Innovation is vital to making learning relevant for today’s students. That’s why JA of Northern Indiana staff members dedicate extensive energy to personalizing JA learning activities and expanding program opportunities. One of these creative ideas is the “Making It Relevant” initiative for middle school programs. Another is the implementation of the new For Me, For You, For Later: First Steps to Spending, Sharing, and Saving pre-kindergarten financial literacy program.

Through the “Making it Relevant” effort, we have partnered with educators and volunteers to design local program enhancements. These enhancements adapt JA’s hands-on activities to be relevant to challenging economic circumstances.

For example, in some families there simply is no extra spending money. That means these students cannot relate to activities that involve choices about expensive purchases or travel. New activities provide more reality-based spending choices while maintaining the original concepts of the professionally developed JA program.

This unique effort was recognized with a 2012 MetLife Foundation Sowing the Seeds of Entrepreneurship Award. The award, one of only five across the nation, included a $10,000 grant for developing and demonstrating the innovation.

To further increase the value of sequential learning we introduced, and are already expanding, the new For Me, For You, For Later: First Steps to Spending, Sharing, and Saving program. This pre-kindergarten financial literacy program is supported by a grant from PNC Foundation.

More than 800 children ages 3-5 in pre-school and childcare classrooms within Allen, Adams, DeKalb, Huntington, Kosciusko, Wells, and Whitley counties participated in the pilot program last year. This year, more than 1,000 children in these counties will be served. Plus, funding to serve an additional 550 children in Elkhart, Jasper, LaPorte, and St. Joseph counties has been requested.

Discover more about JA programs by clicking here:


New Website Launched

There’s always something exciting happening at JA of Northern Indiana, and our new website,, is a wealth of information. Explore it today and bookmark it for tomorrow!


Igniting the Spark

Did you know that as few as 10 hours of classroom instruction can be enough to persuade students to improve their spending and saving habits according to the National Endowment for Financial Education. Each day, news reports remind us of the challenges of the regional and national economic environment in which we live and work. And because economists themselves often disagree about the best solutions to economic conditions, young people of all ages need our help to better understand the likely consequences of education and economic choices.

Teachers want to help students build economic understanding, and they see the positive results of class time spent on these topics. In fact, every year, they invite more than 5,000 parent/adult volunteers into their classrooms to share JA activities. That’s why JA programs are designed to ignite the spark in young people to experience and realize the opportunities and realities of work in the 21st century global marketplace.

To respond to specific learning needs, JA programs and delivery methods are tailored to meet educator requests. For example, Lincoln Elementary School’s principal wanted to add JA It’s Our Day to the schedule. Because six of the school’s classrooms had previously enjoyed the traditional delivery of the grade-specific program, our staff adapted afterschool program curriculum components for these classrooms. As the other classrooms in the school experienced their grade-specific programs, these students gained additional knowledge.

Identifying ways to use volunteer time to fit busy adult schedules is top-of-mind at JA, too. We offer easy-to-implement programs with a whole world of scheduling possibilities. To refer a friend or colleague, click here now and contact the JA representative in your county.


Fund-Raising for JA

Eight out of 10 students agree that JA participation reinforces the value of an education and staying in school. Your investment in the annual Business Drive and Bowl-A-Thon allows us to meet educator demand for JA programs that teach skills like personal finance, career readiness, and business ownership.

Through the recently completed 2012 GE-Junior Achievement Bowl-O-lympics, 520 individuals working together in 114 teams raised more than $85,000. Special thanks to this year's title sponsor GE, and event sponsors Aalco Distributing, AEP, BKD, Fifth Third Bank, Health Americas, Parkview Health, Raytheon, Regal Beloit, Swiss Re, Three Rivers Federal Credit Union, and Wells Fargo Bank.

In addition to many returning teams, new teams joined the effort: BioLife, Coldwell Banker, Fifth Third Bank, Health Americas, Pine Valley Ladies Golf League, NIPSCO, Swiss Re, Strebig Construction, and Vera Bradley. The GE team raised more than $12,000. Michael Earls, BKD, was the top individual fund-raiser; he generated $5,025 for JA. (Check out all the results by clicking here.)

The JA Business Drive also engages donors who want to make a real difference for children across northern Indiana. This year's Honor Our Military-themed effort continues through February, guided by co-chairs Eric Ottinger, Lake City Bank, and Joe Dorko, Lutheran Health Network.

To date, Mike Eikenberry, PNC Bank, holds the top fund-raiser title, with Bob Hall, Old National Bank, working to overtake him. Frontier Communications has engaged more callers than any other organization and initiated an internal competition to motivate them. PNC carries the top company fund-raiser banner; however, Lake City Bank is closing in fast. And congratulations to Lutheran Health Network, which has already raised more than $6,515 in its first year of participation.

As the Business Drive continues into February, can you refer us to another division of your company in northern Indiana? Or a perhaps you know a supplier we should contact? To initiate the relationship, contact Lena Yarian, JA of Northern Indiana President, at (260) 484-2543, or send her an e-mail, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


We also encourage you to get involved in an upcoming special event – click here to learn about upcoming JA events. Or click here to see what’s happening in your northern Indiana community.  

JA empowers young people to own their future economic success by enhancing the relevancy of education. During the 2012-13 school year, more than 105,000 young people in pre-kindergarten through high school classrooms across 25 counties in northern Indiana will benefit. Visit to learn more.