For the fifteenth year, the Lake Mirror Classic Auto Festival is partnering with Junior Achievement (JA) to raise awareness of the importance of economic and financial education for today’s youth. Event Chairman Ford Heacock states, “I support Junior Achievement because it teaches students about economics and business. JA’s positive impact is measurable.” On Friday, October 16th Junior Achievement presents the First Annual Culinary Cook-Off at Club Magnolia sponsored by Allen & Co. Ten restaurants are also supporting Junior Achievement by providing delicious tastings in one or more of the following categories: appetizers, main entrée, and dessert. In addition to the fantastic food, guests will enjoy live music performed by Skip Frye and a Silent Auction benefiting Junior Achievement. Lily Romine, Regional Director for Junior Achievement in Polk and Highlands said, “We appreciate our Title Sponsor, Allen & Company so much because in addition to supporting JA at this exciting new event, they also are proud supporters of Junior Achievement programs. It was very rewarding to see the students at Lawton Chiles Academy light up with excitement when their JA volunteers from Allen & Company taught the JA Economics for Success program in their seventh grade classrooms!” Dana Hurley, Financial Advisor and Junior Achievement of Polk County Board Co-Chair added, “It is our firm’s mission to give back to the community we live in and provide financial education for our clients and our community. Volunteering through Junior Achievement allows us to achieve both goals.” Junior Achievement teaches students around the world to succeed in a global economy. According to Shannon Long, JA Education Director, “This school year Junior Achievement’s goal is to teach important financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurial lessons to 10,504 students in 583 classes throughout Polk County.” Junior Achievement’s hands on K-12 grade programs help prepare young people for the real world by showing them how to generate wealth and effectively manage it, how to create jobs, making our communities more robust, and apply entrepreneurial thinking to the workplace. Students put these lessons into action and that helps strengthen our community. “Today’s young people need financial education in real terms, and JA provides that,” said Kelly Williams-Puccio, Publix Super Markets Charities Executive Director, Co-Chair of Junior Achievement in Polk County and dedicated JA classroom volunteer. Volunteers lead all Junior Achievement programs. Danielle Durham, an Allen & Company associate volunteers for JA because “I like to be able to inspire young minds!” Junior Achievement offers their programs at no cost to the schools. They do this through support from the community, businesses, individuals, grants, and fundraising events like the Culinary Cook-Off. The important life lessons Junior Achievement students learn from their JA volunteers are PRICELESS! The Culinary Cook-Off competitors are: Abuelo’s, Outback Steakhouse, PDQ, Publix Aprons Meals, Johnson’s Barbecue, Fred’s Market, Fresco’s, Il Forno, Winner’s Circle, and LEGOLAND Resort. Don’t forget, along with the delicious tastings, there will also be a fabulous JA Silent Auction and live music by Skip Frye. Tickets are on sale now for $30 at www.JAPolk.org or $40 at the door, and includes admission, food tasting and two drink tickets. Table Sponsors for 10 guests and table recognition are still available at $300.