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By Nikki Cabus

JA raises over $120k for student programs in Palm Beach & Treasure Coast regions

Read Time 3 Minutes

Junior Achievement of the Palm Beaches & Treasure Coast held their 10th Annual JA Caribbean Wind raising over $120k for student programs. 

The fundraiser, in partnership with the Esther B. O’Keeffe Charitable Trust, took place the evening of October 14th outside at Safe Harbor Rybovich in West Palm Beach. Guest enjoyed Caribbean cuisine, cocktails, hand-rolled cigars, live reggae music by Clement Aubrey and One Tribe surrounded by yachts up to 100 meters in length.

With 200 people in attendance from nonprofit leaders to local executives and featuring over $28k in incredible silent auctions to bid on, the fundraiser raised over $120k in support of student programming across Palm Beach County and into the Treasure Coast.

The evening was co-chaired by Deana Pizzo of I.T. Solutions of South Florida and David Markarian of The Markarian Group. Committee members included Rikki and Stu Bagatell; Shannon and Brad Ball; Kathy and Jon Burstein; Allison and Trey Fogg; Alyssa Freeman; Teresa Heine; Dena and Dennis Kennedy; LeeAnne and Joe LaBanz; Al Loureiro; Sonali and Neeraj Mendiratta; Melissa Nash; Sophia A. Nelson; and Josh Vandagriff.

Claudia Kirk Barto, JA Palm Beach & Treasure Coast CEO, told Tech Hub, “We couldn’t have done it without our awesome committee chaired by Deana Pizzo and Dave Markarian!”

Junior Achievement (JA) programs span grades K-12, with age-appropriate curricula designed to teach elementary students about their roles as individuals, workers, and consumers and to prepare middle grade and high school students for key economic and workforce issues they will face.

Too many children don’t have access to education crucial for their future success such as personal financial responsibility, budgeting, critical thinking, and career readiness. JA exists so that all kids, regardless of background, receive the tools they need to build a future for themselves in which they are optimistic, economically self-sufficient, and determined, with a belief in the power of free enterprise.

JA offers a multidisciplinary approach that connects learning across social studies disciplines, such as economics, geography, history, government, civics, while incorporating mathematical concepts and reasoning/language arts skills. JA believes that creating foundations that build upon each other over time is the key to having graduates go on feeling really prepared for handling financial matters as adults.

Junior Achievement of the Palm Beaches & Treasure Coast will inspire and prepare their ONE MILLIONTH student this coming school year through financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and workforce readiness programs.

Educational materials are used in all grade levels and are available for free to all public schools, due to the community’s support. Since the pandemic, impact has surged from 20-30,000 students per year to over 146,000 students served this past year throughout Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River, and Hendry counties. Funds are needed to cover the cost of program curriculum and materials.

Check out the full photo album here. Donations to help support our students can also be made here:


By Nikki Cabus

Junior Achievement’s Rosé Soirée event raised $110k to support students

Read Time 3 Minutes

This month the 5th annual JA Circle of Wise Women Rosé Soirée raised $110,000 for Junior Achievement of South Florida (JA) programs.

With 225 women in attendance, the event was held at the former Neiman Marcus in The Galleria in Fort Lauderdale. The evening was an experience for all, beginning with a rose petal, red carpet entrance to shopping, networking, appetizers by Silver Lining and sips of rosé, provided by SipChanné, Bloomers Frozen Drinks and Breakthru Beverage Florida.

The evening continued with JA students sharing their inspirational journeys, awarding of the Lorraine I. Thomas Girls Scholarships and the pinning of 18 new Circle of Wise Women members. The event also honored the 2022 Woman of Wisdom (WOW), Sharon Gustafson-Florescue, Florescue Family Foundation who spoke about her personal and professional journey. Sharon is fabulous, generous, funny and beautiful inside and out.

The event’s title sponsor for yet another year was CITY Furniture who’s CEO, Andrew Koenig, is the current JA South Florida Chairman of the Board. “CITY Furniture is proud to be the title sponsor of the JA’s Rose Soirée, in the commitment to provide young women with the right education, skills, and opportunities to create vibrant and sustainable communities,” wrote Koenig in a recent social media post.

JA’s Circle of Wise Women is a vibrant group of women who are passionate about and dedicated to Junior Achievement’s mission of empowering youth with the knowledge, ability and confidence to navigate their futures, drive our economy, and lead our community.

They believe that Junior Achievement programs are a springboard to show today’s youth their potential for success. Since its inception, the group has raised more than $4.5 million for Junior Achievement of South Florida.

The group’s signature event is the annual JA World Uncorked – a culinary showcase where guests sample gourmet bites prepared by leading South Florida chefs and sip premier wines, spirits, craft beers and cocktails from local vendors. In addition, the Circle of Wise Women host social gatherings throughout the year and participate in JA-related events, such as the Rosé Soirée.

In addition to the hard-working JA team, special thanks goes out to the leading ‘Ladies In Pink’ event co-chairs, Yvette Birdsong, Melissa Milroy and Jennifer Starkey, Rosé sponsors, CWW members and guests for your generous contributions.

“As a mother and female leader, I feel a responsibility to motivate and inspire the next generation of girls. I am proud to lead an organization that shares this value,” said Laurie Sallarulo, CEO of JA South Florida. “While the Circle of Wise Women was formed to support students across all JA programs, I am thrilled the members have embraced the focus on girls. Thank you to all of the amazing women who have joined our dynamic group.”

Thanks to these women, JA will continue to provide tens of thousands of students with impactful programs preparing them for the future and support the goals and dreams of young female JA alumni!

If you are interested in learning more about Junior Achievement South Florida or how you can donate, visit

By Nikki Cabus

Junior Achievement, Palm Beach Tech, and Partner

Read Time 2 Minutes

Junior Achievement, Palm Beach Tech, and Partner

Groups to provide JA Job Shadow Program and Internships to Students


Contact: Bob Cawood | 561.242.9468 |

West Palm Beach, Fla.Junior Achievement of the Palm Beaches & Treasure Coast (JAPBTC) has formally partnered with and the Palm Beach Tech Association to expand their JA Job Shadow program.

JA Job Shadow encourages entrepreneurs and business owners to commit their time, share stories of their entrepreneurial journey, and open the eyes of high school students to future opportunities. This gives local students opportunities to experience office life, participate in internships, as well as advice and next steps for students to make the most beneficial choices for their future.

In 2018, the JA Job Shadow program was hosted by West Palm Beach based and the Palm Beach Tech Association, and resulted in students receiving employment and internships.

Palm Beach Tech hosted the program at their downtown co-working space, educating high school students on the principles of technology entrepreneurship, and helping them develop startup ideas of their own. Palm Beach Tech has since hired two of those students as summer interns. decided not only to offer the program again to the students, but to also sponsor it. The staff will spend time mentoring the students, educating in soft skills, and introducing them to new possibilities and exciting opportunities in the field. They also plan to offer internships to the students who are interested and qualify.

“Junior Achievement is asking all local businesses, big or small, to open their doors and allow local students to see the endless possible career paths our County has to offer,” said Bob Cawood, JAPBTC’s Business Development Manager. “Our vision is to help build a better Palm Beach County by keeping our students local after they graduate.”

Those interested in offering or sponsoring the JA Job Shadow program to local students can visit or contact (561) 242-9468.


About Junior Achievement of the Palm Beaches & Treasure Coast (JA): Junior Achievement of the Palm Beaches & Treasure Coast (JA) is a nonprofit organization that focuses on preparing young people to succeed in a global economy through programs that center on work readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy.

About Palm Beach Tech:  The Palm Beach Tech Association is a non-profit 501(c)6 membership association building the Palm Beaches into a Tech Hub.

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JA raises over $120k for student programs in Palm Beach & Treasure Coast regions
Junior Achievement’s Rosé Soirée event raised $110k to support students
Junior Achievement, Palm Beach Tech, and Partner