Junior Achievement, An Unsung Hero
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
What do you remember about Junior Achievement from your days in school? Was it a JA Company sponsored by a local business, creating a product to sell? Well, today's Junior Achievement is so much more! And, it would seem, it is also one of the world's "best kept secrets", and it's right here in your hometown.
From their "ABC's to their SAT's", JA students learn the basics of money management – what we call financial literacy – which are essential life skills. As our students head back to school, there are a few subjects they won't have, like how to manage money, how to balance a checkbook, how to avoid credit debt or how to get ready for a job in the real world.
Starting in kindergarten and throughout their elementary school experience, JA teaches students, through age appropriate hands-on activities, the importance of "working units" within families and the community. It teaches the difference between a "want" and a "need" - I "want" a Wii but I "need" my breakfast. It teaches how businesses work together in a global society. It teaches the importance of ethics. While the current economic climate is the result of many factors, few would disagree that better financial decision-making could have lessened the consequences for many families
JA has been in Trumbull schools for sixteen years. It reaches nearly 3,000 students, 45% of the total school population. These students are learning to become financially savvy, developing strong leadership skills and becoming workforce ready so that when the time comes for them to take their place in society, they will be ready.
Seven years ago, JA came to Mill Hill School in Southport as a pilot program. Today, both parent and local business leaders are helping deliver JA's program in seven of the town's schools, reaching nearly 1,750 students. Many of Fairfield's schools support these efforts through PTA contributions on behalf of the students participating.
JA has recently come into the Newtown school system. Parent and local business leaders are helping deliver JA's program in four of the town's schools, reaching nearly 500 students.
With students eager to make new friends, earn good grades and engage in college resume-boosting activities, now is the time for parents to reflect on their own contributions to family and community. If you want to volunteer to teach a JA program, please contact Harriet Rago at 382-0180, ext. 11.