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Leaders in youth education, employment, and entrepreneurship.

Welcome to The Spark, our online magazine supporting our vision of building a world in which young people have the skillset and mindset to build thriving communities. Here, you’ll find stories, insights, and experiences that show how we’re helping young people gain the skills, knowledge, and confidence they need for success.

Come with us as we explore how we empower youth to make a positive impact on the world. Together, we can create a brighter future!

Women supporting women

Lifting Each Other Up: International Women’s Day

March 28, 2024

International Women’s Day was March 8 and I had the good fortune to attend several events to celebrate.

At the Smashing Barriers event organized by TechAlliance, Melissa Sariffodeen, CEO and Co-founder of Canada Learning Code, I was inspired by Melissa’s passion for teaching Canadians of all ages important digital literacy skills that are so vital in today’s workplace. I was also excited to learn that Melissa is a JA alumna, having completed Company Program in London. Another shining example of JA’s impact and outcomes!

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RRSP planning for teens

Why RRSP Season Should Interest Teenagers and How Junior Achievement Supports Early Retirement Planning 

February 22, 2024

Retirement planning is too often considered a distant concern for teenagers, who are more focused on immediate priorities like school, social activities, and part-time jobs. However, in today’s economic landscape, starting retirement planning early has become increasingly important. With RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) season in full swing, it’s an opportune moment to discuss why teenagers should take an interest in retirement planning and how organizations like Junior Achievement are supporting youth in this endeavor.

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Navigating the Future: A Strategic Look at HR Trends Shaping Youth Preparedness for the Evolving Workforce  

January 31, 2024

A new year means a new start and many people consider changing jobs and/or careers in January.  It can be a daunting thought for people with work experience, and absolutely overwhelming for a young person who’s just starting out.   

We sought insights from Kim MacPherson, a JA South Western Ontario board member and a Global Talent Leader, to gain her thoughts and perspective on the future of work.

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Tell Me Why …

December 07, 2023

As a fundraiser for 30 years, it was not a surprise for me to end up in this career. 

I started at an early age mirroring my parents’ generosity. Girl Guide cookies when I was 6 years old, a UNICEF box every Halloween when pennies were still currency and all the school sales of chocolate bars and such. Every one of those I had to….

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Closing the Financial Literacy Gap: A Call for Collaborative Action

November 29, 2023

I remember clearly my first week attending university. I was nervously navigating unfamiliar hallways, classes, and other new realities when I came upon a series of booths set up in the campus food court. Each was a bank or other financial institution vying for my attention and sharing the opportunity to sign up for my very first credit card. My reaction? No way…

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Thoughts from the Quiet Kid…

November 15, 2023

If you were to travel back in time to when I was in tenth grade and ask any of my teachers, coaches, or family friends to describe me, you would have gotten one resounding answer from all of them: quiet. I was mousy and painfully shy. I did everything in my power to not be seen, acknowledged, and definitely not heard…

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That Back-to-School Feeling

September 29, 2023

I’ve always liked “back to school”. As a young person, I enjoyed going back to school – fresh notebooks, new subjects, seeing friends I hadn’t seen over the summer. It always felt like a New Year and new beginning. When my kids were young, I had the same feelings of excitement and anticipation over the start of the school year. Now with JA, September brings similar feelings of excitement…

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A Change to Planned Giving Starts in 2024

August 31, 2023

Introduction by  Heather J. Scott, CFRE Director, Philanthropy JA South Western Ontario  Since 2006, the capital gains on gifts of publicly traded securities to registered charities has been eliminated. Securities eligible are all securities listed on both Canadian and major international exchanges. This includes stocks, mutual funds and bonds, along with a variety of other…

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Self-Efficacy: A Critical Skill for Worker

July 27, 2023

I’ve spent a lot of my career focused on talent development – either as a people leader, helping companies attract and retain talent, or – most recently – providing opportunities for youth to figure out what they want to do and how they can get there. As part of this work, I love to stay…

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