York's Junior Achievement building needs repairs


After 12 years and more than 100,000 visits from students, volunteers and teachers, Junior Achievement of South Central Pennsylvania's facilities are in need of maintenance and repair.

The nonprofit has launched a $1.25 million capital campaign and has already raised about $823,000 through private solicitation.

The public campaign to raise the remaining money will run through October.

The funds will "help to retire some of the debt the organization has on the mortgages on our buildings and help make repairs," said spokeswoman Amy Jansky.

"It's sort of an old building, the air conditioning units need repairs ..." she said. "The building has seen a lot of use with the number of kids coming through, and we want to keep it up to snuff."

BizTown: Junior Achievement 14 years ago purchased an old, abandoned building at 610 S. George St. with an initial capital campaign of $1.2 million.

That campaign created JA BizTown, an 8,000-square-foot campus that welcomes more than 10,000 visitors per year.

Thousands of local fifth- and sixth-grade students at BizTown have a first-hand opportunity to learn about the free enterprise system by populating a simulated city.

"BizTown is a mini city or kind of a city replica, built inside our building," Jansky said.

"It has 14 different shops and businesses, and they run it just as you would a city," Jansky said.

Students populate the simulated city and fulfill different roles, including entrepreneurs, employees in the local shops and designers, Jansky said.

The JA BizTown learning experience combines a six-week classroom curriculum into a day of hands-on learning. The program is correlated to Pennsylvania curriculum standards for math, language arts, social studies, civics and technology.

STEM: The JA this year rolled out two new programs, the first of which focuses on science, technology, engineering and math, the STEM Summit.

The daylong program for high school students brings professionals in a STEM-related field to the classroom.

"There are three different segments," Jansky said. "The career panel is where our volunteers talk about their jobs, their experience, their education. They also bring props and do demonstrations.

"Then there are experiments, the STEM field has a lot of chemistry. There's one that the students really like called Elephant toothpaste, where chemicals are combined to produce a large amount of foam."

Real: Real Life, the second new program, is a daylong financial literacy program taught at local high schools.

"The format is very similar to the STEM program where we have volunteers in the field come in and share their expertise with the students," Jansky said.

The day is divided into two sections. During the first half, students complete a budgeting simulation, and the other half of the day consists of four 30-minute modules that go over topics including insurance and retirement.

"They really learn about budgeting in this one," Jansky said. "They get a fictitious life scenario, and based on that, they have to make choices on housing and all the monthly budgetary decisions you have to make in real life.

"The end goal is to have a balanced budget and maybe even save a little money."

Real Life is intended for high school juniors and seniors "because they're very close to entering the real world, and they'll need this knowledge in the very near future," she added.

Funding: Funding from the campaign will keep these programs flourishing across the six counties — Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Perry and York — Junior Achievement serves.

The STEM Summit and Real Life are expected to reach a combined 10,000 high school students and BizTown, more than 7,000 middle school students this year.

In addition to settling debts and building maintenance, funds from the campaign will go toward creating initial investments for Junior Achievement to begin an endowment fund to create an ongoing source of income.

For more information or to donate, visit www.jascpa.org or call 843-8028.

— Reach Jessica Schladebck at jschladebeck@yorkdispatch.com