President’s Message: Inspired to Action

We’ve all heard rousing speeches, read stirring books, and watched exciting movies. But what makes something meaningful, rather than simply enjoyable, is the action that results. As author Mary Morrissey says, “Inspiration, without action, is merely entertainment.”

In fact, inspire is a word of action – it comes from the Latin word that means to inflame or to blow into. When you inspire something, it is as if you are blowing air over a low flame to make it grow.

JA inspires students by fueling their desire and ability to rise above ordinary experiences and break free of boundaries. And all of the resulting action is leading to incredible results. JA Alumni start businesses at a rate 2½ times higher than the general population. They are more likely to have finish school and secure employment. Perhaps most importantly, JA students feel less entitled and are more self-motivated. These results would not be possible without the supporters, volunteers and teachers who help students learn, grow and see possibilities.

Last week, we hosted the JA Inspiration Reception where we honored our JA Inspiration Scholars as well as the JA Advocate of the Year, the JA Educator of the Year and the JA Volunteer of the Year. Each of these individuals had a unique story to share about their own inspiration, which in turn inspired the rest of us. One of our scholars, Tristan Abarca, spoke about leading through actions. Tristan credits his acceptance to Stanford to all of the summer programs he has completed. He says, “At that point, everyone has the same grades and SAT scores. It’s what you do outside of school that sets you apart.” He thanks summer programs like JA Business Week for making him stand out from the rest.

If we believe in the boundless potential of our young people (and we do!), we must inspire them to action, and to have a shared culture of optimism, zeal and enterprise. Congratulations to our incredible honorees and thanks to each and every one of you who are inspired to take action to fuel students’ dreams.