Our Impact

Inspiring and empowering young people

A very special JA Company Program shines in Milton

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On April 17th, the JA Central Ontario team visited a new JA Company Program pilot in Milton, Ontario, hosted by Bruce and Ellen Whitehouse and JA volunteer Trevor Smith, a recent recipient of the 2023 Royden Richardson National JA Volunteer Award. This unique pilot brought together young adults, their guardians and dedicated volunteers who continue to make this program an exciting endeavour for the participants. 

Like our flagship JA Company Program experience, these bright young learners and aspiring entrepreneurs came together to create something incredible, their own business. Together, they formed their company, SHMARKards - ingeniously adding the first letter of each team member's name to align with their product - personalized artistic greeting cards hand created by themselves for any occasion.

Our team had the opportunity to answer questions, share more information about JA Company Program and learn firsthand about the impact this opportunity and program has afforded its learners, their guardians and parents.

“I’ve seen my daughter's confidence in her ability grow throughout her Company Program experience. She often excitedly talks about her VP duties in her group and ties these activities back into her daily life.” - Valerie Brown.

Our staff also learned about the community it has helped foster for members of this group through the lived stories and experiences shared by the volunteers and parents involved.

"There is a need for more programming for youth and young adults with disabilities and this JA endeavour is an invaluable exercise in community building. When we come together as a community, I believe we all learn something." - Peg Olsthoorn, parent and volunteer.

Congratulations to Team SHMARKards for their JA Company Program achievements, and to the dedicated JA volunteers making this inclusive learning experience come to life.

What is JA Central Ontario’s Company Program?

JA Company Program is an after-school entrepreneurial experience that empowers high school students to start and run their very own business. With the help of a student group and volunteer mentors, students create, manage, and liquidate a business in 18 weeks. Through Company Program, students not only learn how to run a business - they also meet new friends, connect with mentors, network with professionals, and gain the skills and experience to shape their futures.

Interested in getting involved next year? Find out more information and sign up for notifications here