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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Junior State of America Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Children & Youth, Cultural & Ethnic Awareness, Democracy, Youth Community Service Clubs, Youth Development - Citizenship

Mission: The mission of the Junior State of America and the Junior Statesmen Foundation (JSA) is to strengthen American democracy by educating and preparing high school students for life-long involvement and responsible leadership in a democratic society.

Target demographics: youth and teens of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds

Direct beneficiaries per year: 11,000 students nationwide

Geographic areas served: nationwide

Programs: year-round leadership training and engaging summer schools

Community Stories

262 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Rob M.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I love this organization. I was a founding chapter member in high school and it really sparked my interest in civic engagement. Now I run a policy analysis consulting firm in Columbus, Ohio and I feel like the entrepreneurship skills I learned there set me up for it!

Client Served

Rating: 5

JSA truly changed my life. My high school experience went from a small box to seeing our nation's Capitol, studying with university professors, and meeting students from all over the USA. While I never aspired to public office, JSA expanded my feeling of possibility, readied me for college, and gave me communication skills that have benefitted me and my community for a lifetime. JSA is worthy of the highest support from donors and neighborhoods who all need a citizenry who can think critically and communicate with accuracy, precision, and confidence.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My name is Cherylyn Aulerio and I am an alumni student of JSA. I attended the program at Stanford University about 5 years ago and I can honestly say I learned a lot from my peers, my RA's (mentors), and my professors. With that, I figured what I wanted to be when I grew up and I am still following through with what I planned 5 years ago. JSA not only teaches students about political issues, it teaches students about what can be done regarding those issues. I learned so much from my experiences as an islander and I believe this program would help many more.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The experience in JSA (then CJS) and the learning from the summer school courses were of significant help in me in my later career. Aside from government and politics, which turned out not to be the major part of my career, the training in how to work with people, how to communicate both formally and informally, and how to think critically were important. I went on to a successful career in science and the related businesses, and JSA experience was clearly important in preparing me for that and helping me to enter universities important to that career. An excellent investment of time and modest money, and it was fun to boot.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've seen firsthand the brilliance of these students and their ability to do things adults cannot

Mindy Frosto S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I highly recommend this organization! The staff and students participating in JSA are highly motivated, organized and enjoy the winter and summer Congress that are sponsored by JSA. As a chaperone I’ve always been impressed by the debate topics presented by the students and their debate skills and working with each other. Continued success to JSA!
#RespectTheSpeaker

Client Served

Rating: 5

JSA served my high school with a top-tier debate program, facilitating regional and national tournaments. JSA provided civic and leadership opportunities while preparing myself and classmates for collegiate-level debate participation. Additional, the foundation runs a number of college-prep summer school programs -- one of which I attended.

I credit JSA for the educational and work opportunities that I have been lucky to receive since.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I got interested in the debate club in High School.. It was called JSA.. It was so much fun debating and preparing to debate and engaging in healthy discourse.. Something that would be much appreciated in todays political environment. This organization set the seed for one of my biggest passions in life, It was part of the reason I ran for public office, it is a reason I engage in Civic Activity and give back.. The Summer Program in Georgetown cemented the passion. There is truth to the fact that JSA creates solid leaders in our country and for that I am personally and generally thankful to this organization for making us all better.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

JSA is one of the nation's most important NGOs. It teaches critical thinking, civil discourse, and youth leadership through the medium of debate. I am a proud alumni, volunteer, and donor.

2 George S.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am an alumnus of both the summer program at the University of Texas at Austin and the summer program at Georgetown University. Moreover, my senior year of high school, I became engaged with the year-round organization attending conferences across my home state of Texas, engaging in serious debates on public policy and cultural advancement, and building an incredible network of rising leaders that has served me throughout college and my professional career. JSA introduced me to my passion for civic engagement. It was the first program I attended in which there existed a vast community of civically engaged and politically aware young people. My peers in the program inspired me to refine my understanding of our government, international relations, and national history. My peers made me a better citizen and a better human being.

Now, in my mid-twenties, reflecting back on my JSA experience, I cannot sufficiently convey my gratitude. I would not be who I am today without my experience in the organization. The program enhanced and broadened my academic capability (increasing 10 points in my ACT score after the program). Moreover, had it not been for my experience with JSA (specifically the Georgetown program), I would not have applied, been admitted, and graduated college from Georgetown University (Class of 2014). Moreover, it gave me the confidence to pursue opportunities I never would have imagined possible. My growth in JSA, equipped me with the gumption to seek out opportunities that led to internships in municipal, federal, and international government while in undergrad. I lived abroad for half a year studying culture. Post college, I moved from Texas to New York City to immerse myself in the regulatory environment of the U.S. financial system, and now I am applying to law school. I encourage anyone who is even mildly interested to apply and pursue. You will increase your understanding of yourself tenfold. Your life (and its trajectory) will change substantially.

Kamy A.

Donor

Rating: 5

JSA is a vital organization that fosters youth leadership, civic engagement, and critical thinking. I participated in high school as a member, chapter president, conference attendee, mini conference organizer, regional leader, and Stanford summer school graduate. Those experiences helped me gain confidence, speaking skills, independence, empathy, and a deep interest in politics. Those skills have never left me, and I give JSA credit for instilling and preserving those traits I cherish so much today, 25+ years after high school. I donate every year and will keep doing so until I die.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I participated in JSA through all four years of high school and went to three summer schools. JSA was central to my understanding of civics and how to be a good citizen, providing an experience I couldn't get in the classrooms of my high school (which is a great school -- JSA just adds something extra that you can't get in a regular classroom!). It helped me meet people with different backgrounds and different points of view, which ultimately changed my outlook on the world. I'm grateful that JSA was a big part of my formative years. I would not be the person I am today without it. I have a much broader perspective and remain eager to hear other sides so I can learn from my peers. I also learned that in a civil society, every citizen is indeed your peer! When I look at the way our country is operating politically today, I wish more students had the opportunities that JSA provides. That's why I continue to donate every year. Thank you JSA!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Being involved in JSA throughout High School lead me to become an active member in my community. It also taught me important social, professional, and debate skills that I use every day whether it be in a college class or at my job as a Congressional staffer. JSA is an incredible organization that is changing the world, one student at a time.

1

Advisor

Rating: 5

I have been a JSA teacher adviser for 8 years and am so impressed by the positive influence this organization has on students. My students have pushed their boundaries, built strong friendships, and expanded their leadership skills. The student led leadership aspect of this organization is most impressive. Conventions are organized by students for students (with minimal, yet essential adult input). I would highly recommend the experience for any high school student.

Brian L.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As a freshman in high school, I had very little idea of who I was. There are so many factors preventing confidence and a sense of self-worth at that age. We are largely ignorant of the world, we haven't had any real opportunities to test our limits, our cultural exposure is limited to our home towns, and we are almost never asked for our opinion in a way that matters. JSA changed all of that.

Joining JSA exposed me to new people and new ideas. It challenged me not just to learn about the important issues in our world, but to decide where I stand on those issues and defend that stance. JSA gave me both perspective and a platform to voice that perspective. What's more, as a student-run organization, JSA requires its members to not just sit back and learn, but stand up and lead. The confidence, sense of self-worth and general communication and interpersonal skills I gained at JSA were the most formative factor in me becoming who I am today.

I was in JSA for four years and also attended the JSA summer school. After that, I went to school in Washington DC to study politics and environmental policy, also earning a masters in public policy. Now, I develop renewable energy systems. I chalk much of that up to JSA and the mentors and friends I found there. I sincerely hope every student that wants it is given that same gift. I am confident that JSA won't fail them.

Client Served

Rating: 5

JSA had a huge impact on me as a high school student. JSA opened my eyes to new ways of learning, introduced me to wonderful friends, and encouraged me to aim high when it came to college admissions. I look back on my summer at JSA with fondness and gratitude! I can still remember the jokes, the studying, and the feeling of independence that came from being on a college campus.

Lisa S.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

JSA was a transformative experience when I was in high school. I met a series of life-long friends, learned how to debate about important issues, and grew as a leader through their summer school at Georgetown University.

JSA is the reason I became interested in campaigns and foreign policy, and went on to study it in college. I wholeheartedly support JSA in it's work, and hope that it continues to change the lives of high school students by showing them how to get involved in government!

2 Weston L.

Client Served

Rating: 5

JSA is a life-changing organization that teaches civics, leadership, and political efficacy to thousands of high school students across the United States.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a student who is currently involved with the Junior States of America organization that is run partially by the Junior Statesmen Foundation. JSA enabled me to become a youth leader and has empowered me to play a more active role in the community and politics in this country. I've learned to be a better public speaker and also learned so much about government and international affairs. My high school experience would not be the same without this non-profit, and I am so happy I was able to be a part of this organization since freshman year.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I had no idea what JSA was, and until the moment I first joined, I had no idea how much I was missing out on. For starters, the JSA community is full of warm and encouraging people. I remember being anxious to speak in front of the classroom, and even though I stuttered throughout the whole speech, I received a lot of helpful feedback at the end! When I attended my first convention, I had an even more mind-blowing experience (if that's even possible). It amazed me how dedicated and in love everyone was with this organization - it was at that moment I knew that I wanted to get to know everyone in and outside of my chapter, and experience each convention and conference alongside them!

If your school has a JSA chapter, you should definitely think about joining. Just give it a go - I promise you that you won't regret it.

(Also, if your school doesn't have a chapter, you can create one! Just head on over to http://jsa.org/about/chapters/how-to-start-a-jsa-chapter/ !)