Thank you Volunteers!

We’re celebrating our Volunteers for National Volunteer Week and we could not be more proud to do so. Our Volunteers make the difference in bringing relevant hands-on learning to thousands of students in our area. Thank you for your hard work and expertise!

Here are a few Volunteers sharing their JA Experience:

JA SWO NVW2023 – Volunteer Highlights

VIRTUAL PERSONAL FINANCE EVENT for High School Classes – March 28th

JA has an EXCITING new event opportunity for high school classes.

We are offering GRADE 9 – 12 students across Southwestern Ontario, the chance to participate in JA’s ‘Personal Finance’ program in a new a unique way! JA is offering a Hybrid Virtual LIVE event this semester that you won’t want to miss out on!  .

Each session of the ‘Personal Finance’ live event will be delivered by virtual volunteers. Your class can sign into one of the LIVE sessions that best coordinates with your class time. You will have access to the recordings of the additional sessions to complete the full program with your students.

Register Now or Learn more.

IN THE NEWS: “Set to Celebrate” – London Inc Magazine

Junior Achievement hosts 31st Annual London and District Business Hall of Fame Gala honouring laureates Karen Fryday-Field and Joel McLean

THE 31st ANNUAL London and District Hall of Fame Gala will take place tonight from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

This year’s gala celebrates the achievements of two exceptional role models: Karen Fryday-Field, managing partner of Meridian Edge Leadership and Governance Consulting Group, and Joel McLean, founder of Info-Tech Research Group.


Set to celebrate

JA South Western Ontario is supported by Riverview Gaming Palace

Did you know?  Some of our ongoing support comes through funds raised at Riverview Gaming Centre in Chatham-Kent.  We’re so grateful to the centre and everyone who plays there for helping us to invest in the leaders of tomorrow.

Funds from Riverview have supported programs across all three JA pillars – financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship. Knowing that funding is there each month has been a huge help in bringing essential JA education to students in our community.

Thank you Riverview!

“Putting for Potential” Online Auction Open to All!

Support local students in Waterloo Region by shopping at our Online Auction, open until noon on October 19th.  We have a wide variety of items including fitness, activities, jewelry, experiences,  and gift certificates. Here are just a few:

  • Blue Jays tickets
  • Foundry Brewery – tasting and tour for 10 people
  • Framed reprints – AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones
  • Paradise Inn – 1 night stay, kayak and fat tire bike rental
  • Rebel Creek Golf Club– golf foursome
  • Westmount Golf & Country Club – Round of golf with Bill Fox for three people

IN THE NEWS: Libro Credit Union is first to invest in Junior Achievement amalgamated charter for greater impact on youth financial literacy

August 25, 2021 

SOUTHWESTERN, ONTARIO – Junior Achievement South Western Ontario received a $114,750 investment from Libro Credit Union, setting even more youth up for success with critical life skills that reduce the likelihood of living in debt and ultimately breaking the cycle of poverty.

By amalgamating with Junior Achievement (JA) Waterloo Region, Junior Achievement South Western Ontario now covers the full southwestern Ontario region. Libro Credit Union, a longtime supporter of JA, also serves the same geographic footprint and has partnered with the goal of enhancing delivery of financial literacy learning. The amalgamated charter was announced in a release earlier this summer.

“This support from Libro will provide essential JA education to students across our region,” said Karen Gallant, President and CEO of JA South Western Ontario. “We are thrilled to be working side by side with Libro to inspire the community builders of the future in the towns where they live.”

Libro’s investment will be directed over a two-year period to fund the delivery of 115 financial literacy programs (55 programs delivered in 2021 and 60 programs delivered in 2022) reaching approximately 2,875 students from Grade 4 to high school.

Financial Resilience and Employment are two of Libro’s key focus areas and some of the biggest challenges facing our region. Canadian youth need financial literacy now more than ever.

With the impact the global pandemic has had on our educational system, we can’t lose sight of the essential proactive education students still need. JA has been filling the gap for over six decades and will continue to work with educators and youth to build these critical life skills. The earlier students learn how to manage money, the greater their chances of lifelong financial success.

Recent announcements from the Ontario Government in 2020 and in 2021 indicate that the math curriculum will be upgraded for the first time in 16 years. This will include significant curriculum changes in Grade 9 and mandatory financial literacy learning in Grades 1 through 8, to build valuable money management skills.

JA programs have been supporting youth development in financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship in Canada since 1955. The interactive hands-on experiential learning is age appropriate and engages students with digital tools, resources, relevant content and mentorship from JA trained volunteers.

“Libro has enjoyed a strong partnership with JA for over a decade,” said Shane Butcher, Regional Manager, London-Elgin-Oxford, Libro Credit Union. “We’re looking forward to working with Karen Gallant and continuing our common goal of improving the financial literacy of our youth and developing the next generation of entrepreneurs. Now we’ll have an even greater impact.”

Jordan Moat, Regional Manager, Waterloo, Libro Credit Union adds, “Libro and JA’s aligned values of improving financial literacy and resilience have helped to create an incredible partnership in support of our youth. We’re excited by their recent amalgamation and the synergy this will create amongst our two organizations across southwestern Ontario.”

Libro’s investment will also support the JA London and District Business Hall of Fame and the JA Waterloo Region Entrepreneur Hall of Fame galas, which celebrate local business leaders who have made a positive, lasting impact in their community. These are critical events for the JA community as they inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs and provide connections between Laureates and future leaders.

# # #

MEDIA RELEASE: JA South Western Ontario & JA Waterloo Region have joined forces

July 19, 2021 – London & Kitchener, ON. JA South Western Ontario has officially
merged with JA Waterloo Region to form one strong and dynamic charter.

Formed in 1963 and 1970 respectively, the two organizations will now operate together as the
amalgamated charter Junior Achievement of South Western Ontario. The new charter’s
geography includes the counties of Essex, Chatham-Kent, Lambton, Elgin, Middlesex, Oxford,
Huron, Perth, Bruce, Grey, Wellington, Waterloo, Brant, Hamilton, Haldimand-Norfolk, and

The two charters have been working closely together to deliver programs in a virtual format
for over a year and plan to continue building on the success of the partnership moving

“As difficult as things have been for everyone during the pandemic, we have seen many
bright spots in the ways our staff, volunteers, and students have been innovating,” said Karen
Gallant, President and CEO of JA South Western Ontario. “The team has done an incredible
job at being resourceful with new ideas and efficiencies to bring essential JA education to as
many students as possible. We’re excited to continue that work together as one robust

JA South Western Ontario will still be working locally in many ways. Funds raised in each
region will stay within that region. Volunteers will be working directly with schools in their
areas, and the three offices in Kitchener, London, and Chatham-Kent will be maintained with
current staff.

“We could not be more pleased with this amalgamation,” said Murray Flanagan, Board Chair
for JA Waterloo Region, who will be joining the Board of Directors for JA South Western
Ontario. “Ultimately, our highest priority is to increase our student reach in every city and
town across our region. This merging of resources allows us to streamline how we do the
work so that we can continue to grow and deliver the JA difference to more students.”

Gallant added, “Connecting with youth about financial literacy, work readiness, and
entrepreneurship is so important right now. We are inspiring the community builders of the
future, which will be crucial in the years of economic recovery that may lie ahead.”

JASWO Media Release – JA South Western Ontario and JA Waterloo Region amalgamating – FINAL

IN THE NEWS: “Regional Junior Achievement Charters Merge” – London Inc. Magazine

Junior Achievement South Western Ontario and JA Waterloo Region amalgamate to form one chapter

JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT SOUTH Western Ontario announced today that it has officially merged with Junior Achievement Waterloo Region to form one charter.

Formed in 1963 and 1970 respectively, the two organizations will now operate as the amalgamated charter Junior Achievement of South Western Ontario. The new charter’s geography includes the counties of Essex, Chatham-Kent, Lambton, Elgin, Middlesex, Oxford, Huron, Perth, Bruce, Grey, Wellington, Waterloo, Brant, Hamilton, Haldimand-Norfolk and Niagara.

Regional Junior Achievement charters merge

IN THE NEWS: “So You Want My Job: Non-Profit Executive” – London Inc. Magazine

Karen Gallant, the new CEO of Junior Achievement South Western Ontario, chats about working to make a difference, the digital transformation and her short-lived accountant aspirations.

KAREN GALLANT IS the new CEO of Junior Achievement South Western Ontario, replacing Bev Robinson, who retired after running the London organization for nearly 15 years. Prior to taking the role in May, Gallant was a vice-president with Junior Achievement Canada.

JA Waterloo Region 50th Anniversary Campaign raises $170,451!

Kitchener, ON, July 5th, 2021 – After a nine-month celebration and fundraising campaign, Junior Achievement of Waterloo Region has raised over 170% of their original campaign goal with a total of $170,451.


“We’re thrilled to see the community recognize the importance of Junior Achievement and the essential proactive education it brings to our students,” said Murray Flanagan, JA Waterloo Region Board Chair and 50th Campaign Committee Chair.  “This support will go a long way to helping youth prepare for their financial futures, pursuing necessary education along the way, and staying out of the cycle of poverty.”


Since forming on September 22nd, 1970, JA Waterloo Region has provided 50 years of cost-free programming in financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship to students in Grades 3-12.  In 2020, with the help of community volunteers, JA quickly pivoted to deliver programs in an online interactive format to ensure that no student missed this important training due to the global pandemic.


In the 2020-21 school year, JA Waterloo Region reached over 6400 students through a variety of virtual programs.  Several programs ran in partnership with JA South Western Ontario, which provided exciting new collaboration and innovation opportunities to students and volunteers across the broader region.


“This outpouring of support through our campaign allows the innovation to continue,” said Karen Gallant, recently appointed President and CEO of JA Waterloo Region and JA South Western Ontario. “Keep an eye out for some exciting new growth in programming in the region over the next few years.”


Gallant wished to thank the members of the campaign committee Murray Flanagan, Ian Cook, and Darrin Snider, as well as retiring Interim President and CEO Bev Robinson for their hard work in bringing this campaign to fruition. She added, “It was wonderful seeing the stories coming in from JA Alumni and volunteers sharing the lasting impact JA has made on their lives.  It really highlighted the importance of this work and how it ultimately lifts our community as a whole.”

IN THE NEWS: “Stop, Drop, open up shop” – London, Inc. Magazine

Turning its focus to ­transitioning onsite ­programs into virtual experiences, Junior Achievement continues the learning — and learns a little itself, too

CAN YOU FORM a successful business with 15 people you have never met in person and likely never will?

That was the question posed to students involved in Junior Achievement’s Company Program (a four-month program that teaches grade nine to 12 students how to organize and operate a real business) last year, when it became apparent that JA was not going to be able to use the traditional in-person program model for the 2020-21 school year.

Stop, drop, open up shop

JA hosts free online “Empowered Women” event for high school students on March 3rd

JA hosts free online “Empowered Women” event for high school students on March 3rd


London & Kitchener, ON, February 25, 2021 – Junior Achievement South Western Ontario and Junior Achievement Waterloo Region are teaming up to present “World of Choices: Empowered Women”, a free online conference for female-identifying high school students across the region. The event runs from 6:30-9PM on March 3rd, 2021 and features an exciting panel of leaders from various fields, career mentors in breakout sessions, and other innovators and motivators.


“World of Choices: Empowered Women” is also supported by community supporter RBC Foundation and regional partner Business Education Partnership of Waterloo Region. Students can register for free tickets here:


“We hope that every young woman in high school will take advantage of this incredible opportunity,” said Bev Robinson, President & CEO of JA South Western Ontario.  “It’s so important to see the difference female leaders are making in their fields and gather inspiration from their stories. JA is proud to be hosting this powerful group of women to help energize the leaders of tomorrow.”


Highlights of the event include:


“A Leader in Her Field” Panel with:

  • Mandy Rennehan – Blue-Collar CEO™ & Founder, (not the grocery store!) . She is redefining the collar, blue™ to help solve the massive skilled trade shortage in North America.
  • Celina Caesar-Chavannes – Business consultant, coach and international speaker. Author of “Can You Hear Me Now?” published by Penguin Random House Canada. Former Member of Parliament for Whitby, Parliamentary Secretary to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Parliamentary Secretary for International Development.
  • Carinne Chambers-Saini – CEO and Co-Founder of Diva International Inc., makers of the DivaCup®. Activein 35 countries, over the last three years Diva has experienced double-digit growth. To date, Diva has sold over 6.5million DivaCups worldwide, taking the inner revolution, global.
  • Becky Kellar-Duke – RBC Olympian, Ice Hockey. Four-time Olympic Medalist, four-time world champion.
  • Juliana Dalla Costa (Moderator) – Communications and Digital Media Specialist who hosts “Her Defined”, a podcast that focuses on motivated and influential entrepreneurs and businesswomxn.


Career Breakout Sessions where students learn more about individual career interests from Mentors in the industry.  Many careers will be covered, but here are a few examples:


  • Nikki Noble – Head of Welding, Lambton College
  • Elena Favaro Viana – Lawyer for Online Coaches & Entrepreneurs
  • Melissa Skrebutenas – Pilot with Air Canada
  • Lisa Porter, PhD – Professor of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Windsor and the Executive Director of WE-SPARK Health Institute


Innovation/Inspiration/Motivation Moments including quick presentations from speakers like:

  • Alia Youssef – A portrait and documentary photographer interested in complicating representations of marginalized groups, in particular Canadian Muslim communities.
  • Sara Packard – An advocate and teacher of radical self love and emotional well being through eMOTION movement classes, meditation and one on one coaching.
  • La Quira Young – A dancer and performer who has danced for major companies including Walt Disney World and Disney Cruise Line, who spreads light and joy through movement, speech and song.


The evening will be emceed by Vanessa Rempel, creator and founder of Her Stories Co., a social community, and TV Show on Rogers TV that celebrates and supports women and their achievements, by sharing female driven stories.


To learn more about the event, visit: