by Carl Kotala

Kristin Schreiner is more than just the president of Junior Achievement of the Space Coast.  She’s also one of the organization’s success stories.  After all, the 42-year-old has first-hand knowledge of the kind of impact the nonprofit program can have on a young person’s future.  “The reason I’m with Junior Achievement today is that I was a JA kid,” Schreiner explained.  “I had a Junior Achievement program in high school.  My dad was a JA kid.  I like to say I’m a second generation JA-er.”

Schreiner’s father may not have had the means to go to college (though he did take some junior college classes), but through the JA program he learned relevant skills such as how to start and run a business, which he did.  In fact, it is still going strong in Cleveland, Ohio.

Schreiner’s JA experience came at a time when that business was being built.  “JA showed me how businesses run and why my parents weren’t always available to share with me what they were doing and what they were hoping to accomplish,” she said.

Despite having the smallest JA organization in Florida – a staff of two with an annual budget of roughly $300,000 – the Space Coast chapter has had remarkable success.  Not only did it reach a record number, 11,271 students, it logged more than 76,000 volunteer hours for a quantitative economic impact of more than $2 million.

“We run as a business, but really our philosophy is more of a mission,” Schreiner said. “Our mission is to empower Brevard County youth to own their economic success.  Every day, that’s what we look at; that’s what we strive for.”

Junior Achievement still runs in the family, too.  Not only did her father’s business success allow Schreiner and her sisters to go to college, but her nieces are now getting the JA experience as well.

She may have spent time as a competitive dressage instructor and in the hotel resort industry, but Kristin Schreiner certainly seems to have found her niche: “I’ve had kind of a varied background, but I think JA is the right fit for me.”

COMPANY: Junior Achievement of the Space Coast

TITLE: President

LOCATION: Melbourne, FL