The award is a symbol of recognition by the President of the United States for individuals or organizations that have contributed a significant amount of time to volunteer service. UCF is the only university among the JA partners recognized.

UCF has one of the largest partnerships with JA in the nation. UCF’s JA program sends college students to more than 120 Central Florida elementary and middle schools, where they teach underserved youths. Last fall, 1,604 UCF students taught 30,698 children.

UCF students teach youths about work readiness and entrepreneurship while encouraging them to stay in school and become successful. By acting as role models, UCF students learn more about themselves and gain invaluable critical thinking, leadership and communication skills.

Each UCF student’s commitment is typically a few hours per week during the semester.

The UCF-JA partnership began in 1992 in the College of Education with a group of 20 student volunteers. About 600 education students now participate annually.

The Burnett Honors College set up a partnership with JA in Fall 2004, resulting in the Honors Freshman Symposium, a program that requires all honors freshmen to participate in the JA program during their first semester.

The College of Business Administration also incorporates JA into its curriculum, involving nearly 300 students per semester. As part of their cornerstone class, students spend at least 25 hours teaching JA classes and completing projects for elementary schools and middle schools.

The UCF-JA program hosts College Shadow Day every spring, when hundreds of local seventh-grade students visit UCF to experience college life first-hand. In March, the UCF-JA program will introduce a similar program for fifth-graders that focuses on science, technology, engineering and math.