The Little Things Are The Big Things: JA Moments from 2023-24

As we finish out the school year, we wanted to pause to reflect on the work everyone involved in Junior Achievement gets to be a part of. Our Program Managers work with schools, teachers, volunteers, and students every day – putting together all of the moving parts that make our learning experiences happen. And they also get to see first-hand what a different a JA experience can make!

So we asked them each to share one impactful moment from this year – and of course because they’re wonderful people, they all gave us two! Enjoy…

Sheena Gosse
Program Manager

Waterloo Region, Wellington, Hamilton, Niagara

The first thing that comes to mind is when I had the opportunity to pilot our More than Money half day program. Going into those grade 4 classes and seeing the enthusiasm, the excitement, and the stories of all the little entrepreneurs out there and the different business they have started was one of most impactful memories this school year.

I also really enjoyed having the chance to deliver the Success Skills program this year. The students loved learning that they already possessed so many success skills, and really focused on what skills they were good at especially when we did the group paper tower building activity. So many natural leaders, I saw lots of good communication and team work throughout the activity. Watching the students work together to accomplish one common goal was always exciting to see. I really look forward to getting into the classroom again next year.

Mandy Deelstra
Volunteer Manager

I really enjoyed getting into the classrooms this past year and having the chance to deliver Dollar With Sense, Economics for Success and Success Skills. Even though some of the material seemed a bit daunting upon initial discussion, by the end of the day the students were begging for more quizzing on global currency, creating different budgets for events, asking for more challenges to work as a team, and of course play MORE Bingo.

I’ve met so many interesting people and prospective volunteers over the course of the last year. I feel excited and invigorated knowing that we will have such a great roster of mentors for the upcoming year and really look forward to all the new faces and amazing backstories of new volunteers to come.


Zoe Burness
Program Manager
Company Program and Camps

In Company Program, there was one student who was unsure if the program was for her, and asked at the beginning of the year about what kind of commitment the program required. By the end of the program, she was the team’s Vice President of Human Resources, won two in-company awards, and had 100% attendance!

When asked if the company’s shareholders would be happy with the end result of their company, one president responded with something like “if the shareholders were invested in the experience and learning of the students, they would be thrilled”.


Morissa Ewing
Program Manager
Windsor-Essex, Chatham-Kent, Sarnia-Lambton, Huron-Perth

I received an email from a teacher about a student who volunteered to deliver our financial literacy program at a youth resource organization. Despite his heavy school workload, he was well-prepared and delivered an exceptional full-day program. The participant feedback was amazing; one student said it was “the most important stuff I have learned”

At our World of Choices event in Sarnia, I had a teacher come up to me talking about what a great experience students were having. He mentioned one student who had known roughly what she wanted to do but hadn’t known a specific career in that field even existed until she came to the event. Now she thinks that’s what she wants to pursue!


Claudia Villatoro
Program Manager

Thames Valley (Middlesex, Oxford, Elgin), Brant Haldimand Norfolk, Bruce-Grey

I was delivering a program at a school and a student came up to me saying he was so excited that he was finally participating in the JA program since his sister had participated in the program the previous year. He said he was telling everyone about the program because he couldn’t wait to do all the activities that she did and he thought it was one of the coolest activities that he could do in school.

I had a student make a comment that she couldn’t believe how expensive it is to move out and live on your own after doing the budgeting activity in the Economics for Success program. She said she was going to use our goal and budgeting exercises to come up with a plan when she gets her first job in high school to save her money so she can afford to have everything she wants.


Thank you Program Managers! It’s thousands of these tiny moments that are changing lives all across South Western Ontario.