Junior Achievement (JA) of South Florida has teamed up with the Spirit of Freedom Experience to develop an initiative aimed at educating and inspiring American students about the cornerstone of their rights and freedoms. Spirit of Freedom Experience aims to educate children on the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights and the central element of this initiative is an array of constitutional plaques. The plaques, which replicate the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, will be housed in a new gallery to be built within JA World Patten Family Foundation Finance Park. This gallery and the unique display of plaques will be unveiled at a ceremony on Sept. 16 and 17.
“We are excited to work with Junior Achievement, an organization that has dedicated itself to children and education,” said Alan Goldberg, event chair and a trustee of the Leo Goodwin Foundation, the organization that is propelling the project forward. “Our goal is to encourage youth to understand our nation’s history and the importance of the Constitution, and with 50,000 children coming through the doorways at JA World, it is an ideal partnership.” The Leo Goodwin Foundation is providing a $100,000 grant to implement this program.
Through the Constitution Plaque Initiative plaques are acquired that are identical in size and appearance to the original documents housed in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. The Spirit of Freedom Experience’s outreach program provides students, teachers, administrators and other educators with collateral material and local fundraising programs to assist with obtaining the five-plaque set. The ultimate goal is to place these plaques in as many schools and facilities as possible across America.
“It is an exciting undertaking, and we envision these plaques as a wonderful complement to our storefront displays and other business enterprise elements,” said Melissa Aiello, president of JA South Florida. ¬”Our goal is to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy.”
Goldberg noted that the Spirit of Freedom is making a departure from housing the plaques at schools by selecting JA World as its home, but the educational elements and the number of students that will have an opportunity to see and experience these plaques makes JA World an optimum choice.
The mission of JA South Florida is to ensure that every child in America has a fundamental understanding of the Free Enterprise System. In order to build excitement, JA is launching several contests in the Broward County Public School system in conjunction with civics classes where the Constitution is part of the curriculum. Fifth graders will be competing to create the best poster to commemorate the program while eighth graders will be encouraged to write an essay on this initiative. The winning essays will be read at the Saturday event, while the top posters will be hung on display in the Hall of Fame meeting rooms. High school students will also be participating.
The Spirit of Freedom Experience and Junior Achievement will be providing students with their own booklet to keep, containing the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
The launch of the Spirit of Freedom Experience at JA World Huizenga Center at Broward College will coincide with Constitution Week. The initial event on Sept. 16 will feature the formal unveiling of the five bronze plaques – four representing the U.S. Constitution and one representing the Bill of Rights. The following day, Sept. 17, all of South Florida will be encouraged to participate in a patriotic and fun-filled celebration.