A Spring of Hope Partners with Junior Achievement

by Gail Auguston-Koppen, ASoH Board Member

Elizabeth Bintliff, President JA Africa extended an invitation for me to attend the Junior Achievement – Africa, Company of the Year (COY) competition in Johannesburg, December 7, 2017 after I reached out to her to find out what JA programs were available in South Africa for our schools. With unemployment in Acornhoeck at 89% I was convinced that we needed more than wells and sanitation projects to transform the Acornhoeck community in a sustainable way and Joanne agreed. At the JA Africa Company Of The Year competition I met both Nelly Mofokeng, Managing Director of JA South Africa and Elizabeth Bintliff President of JA Africa. I was totally convinced after seeing the JA COY competition in the US and now in Africa, that this was the path forward to really transform our students lives and the Acornhoek community in a sustainable way. Entrepreneurial skills and financial literacy skills are the backbone of what JA teaches in a very hands on approach. JA will celebrate its 100th year anniversary in 2019 and has been in South Africa since 1979.

Nelly announced on May 30th that two of our schools, Beretta Primary and Acorns to Oaks High school, which is a magnet school in computers and technology, had been awarded funding by Standard Bank Tutuwa Community Foundation for JA programs in entrepreneurship and work readiness concepts with a specific focus on technology for 7-12 grade learners. It will start with 200-250 7th grade learners and move on to robotics and programming in later years at Acorn to Oaks High School. This 6 year JA programs is scheduled to start the second half of 2018.

In addition I have reached out and set up a partner school for our ASoH  schools in South Africa with Dillard High in Ft. Lauderdale. Dillard is also a magnet school in emerging computer technology, robotics, and digital entrepreneurship with 6-12 grade learners. Jessica Swanson is the magnet coordinator at Dillard and she and her team, Ms. Tra’bien Polk for Entrepreneurship and Mr. Steve Szoke for Robotics, are very excited about exchanging ideas, projects, and live streaming speakers to our Acorn to Oaks High school starting with Dillard’s upcoming Dillard Tech Week October 15-20, 2018. This will be an incredible partnership for our ASOH learners to be able to be mentored and participate in future events with Dillard High.

Hamilton and Leanette are going to attend this coming week the JA South Africa Company of the Year “COY”) competition at Citi Bank in Johannesburg which will show them how the program functions in the final competition.

Above photo from left to right: Nelly Mofokeng Managing Director JA South Africa, Gail Auguston-Koppen, and Elizabeth Bintliff President JA Africa at the JA Africa COY competition in Johannesburg, SA, December 7, 2017 where 17 African countries participated in this event.

 Junior Achievement-Africa Company of the Year competition in Johannesburg, SA, December 7, 2017