Author: Evan Simmons
Published: Monday, 29 Feb 2016
In the spring of 2015, the Junior Achievement of Abilene Board of Directors established a goal: "Junior Achievement is going to lead a movement that will help students who attend elementary schools with a high population of economically disadvantaged students in Abilene ISD to learn how to build their own future."
The first manifestation toward achieving this lofty goal was to get on one such campus. Thanks to a grant from the Dian Graves Owen Foundation, Junior Achievement hosted JA in a Day at Abilene ISD's Lee Elementary School on Wednesday, February 24th.
I didn't get a chance to post it earlier this week, but I really enjoyed doing this story. Junior Achievement of Abilene is doing a great job teaching these kids what many adults don't even know about money!
Professionals from United Supermarkets - N. 10th & Willis, the City of Abilene, Abilene Police Department, First Financial Bank, Abilene Teachers Federal Credit Union, Abilene Diagnostic Clinic, State Farm Insurance - Joe Walker, Boys and Girls Club of Abilene, and University Church of Christjoined forces under the umbrella of Junior Achievement to teach basic skills in financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship.
Lee Elementary is made up of a student body from which 86% come from economically disadvantaged homes. This is an audience who can benefit not only from the skills and knowledge gleaned from the JA curriculum, but also from the inspiration they can receive from their JA volunteer!
During the JA program, volunteers deliver age appropriate level curriculum that correlates with grade level Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (state based standards). Through these programs, students learn basic economic education like: basic American currency concepts, how money enters their home, how to differentiate between wants and needs, why saving money is important, how banks work, hot to use and avoid pitfalls of different forms of payments, how to potentially open your own business, and what types of industries help our region thrive.
On top of the practical “how to” knowledge, the students will all be allowed to dream. Perhaps the most important component of Junior Achievement is to inspire students. The JA mission is “to inspire and prepare students to succeed in a global economy.” It is easy for us to focus on how we prepare students. But, generally, when students talk about their JA experience, they often reflect on the inspiration part!
It is our hope that at the end of JA in a Day, every student at Lee will have a dream of what they can be in the real world!
The JA of Abilene Board of Directors does wish to expand our programmatic reach to elementary schools with high percentage populations of economically disadvantaged students. Please reach out to our office at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in volunteering or being a financial sponsor for a classroom.
Check out additional coverage from local media outlets and organizations ' internal newsletters:
Abilene Reporter News Article by Timothy Chipp - "Financial Literacy Should Start in Grade School"
Abilene ISD Newsletter (Page 7) - "Business Leaders Bring Financial Literacy Lessons to Lee Elementary"
KXVA Fox Abilene - "AISD Students Learn the Importance of Money Management"