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SPRINGFIELD — Balise Auto, with nine locations throughout Western Mass., will be donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of every set of four tires sold from Oct. 1 through Nov. 30 to Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts (JAWM) as part of its Tires to Inspire campaign.

“We have been longtime supporters of Junior Achievement, its programs and events,” said Alex Balise, director of Marketing at Balise Auto. “Financial literacy is so important, and this Tires to Inspire campaign is our way of raising funding for and awareness of the amazing work JAWM does in our community.”

JAWM is dedicated to providing economic-education and financial-literacy programs to youth throughout Western Mass, opening their minds to their potential and preparing them for life after graduation.

“Balise Auto has been a great corporate partner over the years, sponsoring events such as our EnTEENpreneur Challenge and Stock Market Challenge events,” said Jennifer Connolly, JAWM president. “We’re thrilled they decided to increase their assistance through this campaign. Our academically challenging programs are offered to local schools and community groups free of charge because of the financial support we receive from businesses like Balise, as well as individuals and foundations.”

Balise added that “winter will be here soon with its snow and ice, so now is a great time for people to make sure their tires are in good shape. Even if you don’t need tires, we encourage anyone who can to support Junior Achievement through a direct donation.”

To make a direct donation to Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts, visit jawm.org/donate.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts (JAWM) will be the recipient of donations made through the UPS Store’s “Start Small, Grow Big” initiative. Customers who shop at one of the UPS Store’s more than 5,100 locations will have the opportunity to donate to their local Junior Achievement chapter at checkout now through the end of the year. At UPS Stores here in Western Mass. and Vermont, donations will go directly to benefit JAWM’s efforts in the community.

“We are so happy the UPS Store chose Junior Achievement to be the recipient of these donations,” said Jennifer Connolly, JAWM president. “All our chapters across the country will benefit immensely from these funds as we work to help children and teens be more successful in life. Thank you to the UPS Store for partnering with us.”

JAWM is dedicated to providing economic-education and financial-literacy programs to the youth of Western Mass. and Vermont, opening their minds to their potential and preparing them for life after graduation. The organizaion’s age‐appropriate, academically challenging programs are offered to local schools and community groups free of charge because of the financial support they receive from hundreds of local businesses, individuals, and foundations, in addition to special events.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts is getting assistance from a local auto dealer for one of its educational programs about car ownership. Balise Auto Group volunteers will present JA All About Cars, a Junior Achievement program that explores the personal-finance considerations that go into purchasing a vehicle, to nearly 200 students in six area high schools during December.

“We are thrilled to be taking part in this program,” said Alex Balise, director of Marketing for Balise Auto Group. “It is so important for teenagers to understand the ins and outs of vehicle ownership before they start shopping. We hope sharing our knowledge with local students will make them more confident when that time comes.”

JA All About Cars programs are funded by a grant from American Honda Finance Corp. Through the program, students make a real-world connection to the car-buying experience, motivating them to make good financial decisions when buying or leasing. Following participation in the program, students will be able to consider whether a dream car is a realistic purchase for most people, explore their driving needs and things to consider when choosing a car, identify a car that meets their needs, and research the cost and understand the pros and cons of financing or leasing a car.

“JA All About Cars combines two things we are passionate about at AHFC: cars and financial literacy,” said Petar Vucurevic, vice president of American Honda Finance Corp. “The lessons taught by Junior Achievement will help teens make smart financial decisions throughout their lives, and we’re proud to be a part of that mission.”

Jennifer Connolly, president of Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts (JAWM), added that “buying one’s first car is both exciting and daunting. JA All About Cars introduces students to the essential costs related to buying and operating a first car and offers tips on being smart consumers when purchasing vehicles. We are grateful to American Honda Finance Corporation for providing the funding to allow JAWM to offer this program to our students. And with the knowledgeable and experienced volunteers from Balise Auto, we can provide teens with the critical information they need to make more informed decisions when it comes to vehicle ownership.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts (JAWM) announced the hiring of a new development director, William Dziura. He will work to plan and evaluate fundraising campaigns and activities; secure financial support from individuals, foundations, and corporations; and develop further relationships with the community.

“We are thrilled to have William joining our team,” said Jennifer Connolly, president of JAWM. “We offer our programs at no cost to schools and community groups, meaning our fundraising efforts are paramount to our success, making this position a vital role within our organization. I believe, with his unique background and experience in education and giving, William will be very successful in this role.”

Dziura earned a bachelor’s degree in English and history from Elms College and a master’s degree in English literature from Trinity College. Most recently, he held the position of director of Annual Giving at the Elms, while simultaneously working as an adjunct professor. Prior to his career in fundraising, he worked as an eighth-grade English teacher at Mater Dolorosa School in Holyoke, and director of Student Engagement and Leadership at the Elms.

“I am excited to help Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts realize a bold, 21st-century vision to benefit the children and young adults of Western Massachusetts,” Dziura said. “We owe it to today’s students to provide comprehensive workforce readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial-literacy education. I am honored to be a part of an organization with over a 100-year track record of bringing these valuable programs to the local community.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts (JAWM) held its annual EnTEENpreneur Challenge on May 7, naming three sophomores from the business technology program at Pathfinder Regional Technical High School the winners of the virtual competition. Sean Moon, Cody Ostiguy, and Max Sanderson received top honors for Private Pockets, a teen business that sells ties with hidden pockets in the back for customers to store business cards, cash, and credit cards.

“We are so proud of all the students who participated, especially since the virtual nature of the competition added extra challenges,” said Jennifer Connolly, president of JAWM. “It was a hard decision for our judges, but the Private Pockets team really checked off all the boxes. We congratulate them on their success.”

The EnTEENpreneur Challenge is a regional teen pitch contest in which teams create a comprehensive business plan and product idea for a small business and pitch it to a team of judges, similar to the reality show Shark Tank.

The concept for the ties was the brainchild of Moon, but Ostiguy and Sanderson helped bring the idea to fruition. The team would like to expand their company at some point to include socks with pockets in them.

Judges for the event were provided by its sponsors and included Wesley Days, UMass Springfield; Amanda Garcia, Elms College; and Mychal Connolly, Stand Out Truck. The winning team received a $5,000 scholarship to Elms College, a $500 cash prize, and their photos featured on a Stand Out Truck roaming billboard truck.

“This is the second year we held this popular event virtually due to the pandemic,” Connolly said. “We hope to return to a live format next year.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts (JAWM) announced it will hold its 23rd annual golf tournament on Friday, June 4 at the Crumpin-Fox Club in Bernardston.

“Last year, we successfully held this event following social-distancing guidelines, and we plan to do the same this year,” said Jennifer Connolly, president of JAWM. “This is a wonderful opportunity for people to get outside at a gorgeous location, enjoy a fun day of golf, and support an incredibly worthwhile cause.”

In addition to the golf tournament, participants can enjoy online bidding for the auction through June 3 and live bidding at the event on June 4. Social-distancing regulations will include requiring players to wear masks in common areas, providing each player with their own cart, and a scramble format with all putts inside three feet conceded, with flags remaining in the holes.

Businesses can sponsor the tournament and will receive a prize package valued at over $200. The package includes a $100 gift card to the pro shop, buy-two/get-two passes for Crumpin-Fox or Fox Hopyard Golf Club in Connecticut good through the 2022 season, and other gifts, such as Yankee Candle items. If they prefer, sponsors can opt to receive a voucher for their foursome valid through the 2022 season.

“We’ve worked diligently to create a flexible event that will be enjoyable and safe for everyone,” said Al Kasper, president and CEO of Savage Arms and chair of this year’s golf tournament. “I encourage businesses throughout the region to participate in this event. Supporting the work of Junior Achievement is a commitment to the growth and development of the next generation of our local workforce, which is essential.”

In addition to a round of golf, an auction, and a raffle, golfers will enjoy a gourmet boxed breakfast at 10 a.m. and lunch served on the course around noon.

“While the pandemic changed how JA delivered programming, from in-person to virtual, our students are receiving more JA programming than ever before, with each student averaging 24 hours of our programming, up from 6.2 hours in 2018-19,” Connolly said. “The proceeds of the golf tournament will go to support these in-demand classes and future JA events.”

To learn more about registration and sponsorship opportunities, visit jawm.org/annual-golf-tournament.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts (JAWM) announced that Nicole Fregeau has joined the organization as program manager.

“We’re thrilled to have Nicole on our team,” said Jennifer Connolly, president of JAWM. “She brings skills, experience, and new ideas inspired by her intensive, hands-on work in the educational field. She’s a terrific asset to Junior Achievement and to the students we reach every day.”

In her new role, Fregeau builds program expansion through strategic planning and presentations designed to recruit and renew commitments of teachers, schools, local businesses, and volunteers. To increase public awareness of JAWM programs, she creates departmental plans and develops and executes volunteer orientation programs. She coordinates the Business and Entrepreneurial Exploration (BEE) summer program as well.

Prior to joining JAWM, Fregeau spent a year in Thailand teaching students at various levels to speak, read, and write in English. In addition, she screened candidates for open positions and consulted with potential students during the enrollment process, edited curriculum, and participated in school programs like English Camp and Scout Camp. As an established Junior Achievement volunteer in the U.S., Fregeau also taught JA’s “More than Money” program to sixth-grade students in Thailand.

Fregeau is a graduate of Elms College with a bachelor’s degree in business management. She participated in Elms College campus ministry service trips to Nicaragua, where she worked on clean-water and education projects.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts has been awarded one of Junior Achievement USA’s highest honors: the Five Star Award.

The purpose of the award is to recognize staff and boards of JA areas that meet Junior Achievement’s national standards in operational efficiency and through strong representation of the JA brand. Recipients must demonstrate growth in student impact and superior fiscal performance. Achievement against these criteria is certified through JA USA and audited financial statements.

Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts, which serves more than 13,000 students throughout Western Mass. and Vermont, will be presented with the award in July at Junior Achievement USA’s National Leadership Conference in Colorado Springs, Colo.

“These Star Award winners represent the best Junior Achievement has to offer,” said Jack Kosakowski, president and CEO of Junior Achievement USA. “They set the standard by which Junior Achievement’s success is measured at the local level. Their commitment and dedication to young people is reflected in their achieving this honor.”

As an organization, Junior Achievement understands that its effectiveness depends on how well JA areas deliver the organization’s financial-literacy, work-readiness and entrepreneurship programs in local communities.

“We are thrilled to receive the Five Star Award,” said Jennifer Connolly, president of Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts. “We thank our more than 470 classroom volunteers and corporate partners who joined with our board of directors and staff to empower thousands of young people to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices.”

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