2016 is a milestone year for Junior Achievement of Lincoln! 45 years ago, JA of Lincoln was founded as a small venture providing evening classes for interested high school students. Obviously, times have changed a lot! We now have hundreds of volunteers serving tens of thousands of students from kindergarten through high school all across southeastern and central Nebraska! We like to think that 45 looks pretty good on us.
To celebrate our 45th birthday, we’re asking some notable alumni to share their JA of Lincoln stories. We start with Kent Mattson, a member of the JA of Lincoln Board of Directors who was first impacted by JA more than 40 years ago. This is what Kent had to say about JA of Lincoln:
“The first year I participated in the JA after school program was during my sophomore year at Lincoln High in 1972. I can’t remember why I joined, maybe a good opportunity to spend additional time with friends, but it turned out to be much more than that for me. Back then there was only the after school program at the 56th & Seward facility. And we could use power tools. I remember making a wooden teddy bear one year for Christmas where we had to use a band saw. My mother still has that teddy bear. I was VP of Production one year and when things were slow we would actually load up a few Achievers and products in a car and go out to some neighborhood to sell door to door. You wouldn’t do that now. JA came full circle for me when I started working at Ameritas. One of the JA companies I was involved with was sponsored by Bankers Life, which became Ameritas. By the way, our main product was a hand lotion that was a great seller. When I joined Ameritas I met and worked with those employees who were our advisors, one (Don Parker) who I replaced on the JA Board. With my prior JA experience I of course had to be an advisor for the Ameritas JA company which I did for several years. My experience with JA has lasted many years, a testament to the value it continues to provide to our youth and community. I continue to be amazed at the growth in the program and its ability to change to meet the ever changing needs of the community and business world.” – Kent Mattson, VP, Human Resources, Ameritas
Thank you to Kent for the years of service to JA of Lincoln! We always love to hear JA alumni storie– if you have one to share, please contact Tera at firstname.lastname@example.org or (402) 467-1217. Our deepest appreciation to everyone who has been part of our first 45 years. Here’s to 45 more, building a better future one classroom at a time!