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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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/ !)
I joined JSA last year and it has been such a great experience. Not only has many people I know gotten over their fear of public speaking, I became a generally more well-versed citizen. The amount of hard work and knowledge that is put into JSA will amaze other people. High schoolers are debating real-life issues and making decisions that Congress is still debating on. It's amazing. I've been able to have so many fulfilling experiences such as writing a bill to make a change, meeting with my US Representative, and becoming a member in their mock government system. Five out of five stars for sure.
The Junior Statesemen Foundation, in short, changes lives. There is no doubt in my mind that our future members of Congress, educators, politicians, and country's leaders will consist of many individuals who have been served by this organization. Students learn to delve into our Nation's most pressing issues, work to promote civic engagement, and inspire those in their community to get involved. I have worked with this organization as both a student leader and as a summer staff member and can say I have never seen any single group of people change the lives and broaden the minds of young people like the Junior Statesmen Foundation.
As a former JSA student leader (Governor of Midwest State), I have seen first hand the powerful impactof the work JSA does. The student leadership approach builds up young people's leadership, civic engagement, and ability to engage in respectful political discourse.
JSA has been in my life for a while now, and it has provided me and countless others with the knowledge, wisdom, and strength to take on local, national, and global issues.
The Junior Statesmen Foundation provides resources and guidance to the greatest high school program in the nation. The Junior Statesmen of America is by far the most fulfilling and rewarding high school experiences that any student could wish for. By facilitating a forum for discussion about political issues in a nonpartisan environment, JSA is able to effectively supply students with the tools they need to become productive members of society. The community that JSA creates is one that is both intellectual and accepting and inspires students to analyze and discuss real-world problems and explore solutions to those problems among a diverse group of students. There's a reason that JSA has been around for so long and has impacted so many lives - the experience that JSA provides to students interested in politics and civil engagement is unprecedented. Some might say that JSA provides training for the leaders of tomorrow; I would say that JSA provides a foundation and a springboard for the leaders of today.
The Junior State of America has impacted my life in more ways than I can count. It has helped me realize my passion for civic awareness, it has made me a more confident speaker, it has given me the opportunity to become a better thinker, listener, statesman, and person, and ultimately, it has brought me closer to so many other passionate leaders. The friendships I've made and the perspectives I've been opened to are in part because of the life-changing experiences JSA conventions offer. From thought-provoking debates, to activism initiatives, to the opportunity to meet other junior statesmen from hundreds of miles away, JSA shapes high school students into the leaders of tomorrow. I know I speak for thousands of other students when I say there is no other organization quite like it. JSA is a lifestyle: of respectful, informed discourse, and a commitment to Be the People.
I joined this organization initially to simply have fun with friends and meet people from all around my region, but after a few short weeks I came to realize the Junior Statesmen Foundation does far more than provide an opportunity for extracurriculars for high school students; it encourages personal growth, intrinsic motivation, and above all a passion for getting engaged with the community and with the nation.
The program is full of amazingly intelligent students who take advantage of every opportunity offered to them. The strength of the JSF speaker program is equally outstanding!