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Why Junior Achievement Matters

Junior Achievement puts volunteer professionals into elementary, middle and high-school classrooms.

Why Junior Achievement Matters

Posted Friday October 31st, 2014 by in Analysis + Strategy.

Junior Achievement is a program that puts volunteer professionals into elementary, middle and high-school classrooms to teach children about the business world. When you ask children about the program, they all say the same thing: “that was the best school day all year.”

There are so many exceptional lessons we can take away from the Junior Achievement (JA) program and what it does for its students. Last week, I heard yet another, as the Principal of a local elementary school denounced her own background and said simply, “kids have too many teachers in their lives.”

Being a teacher herself, she of course meant no offense. Yet, the message was clear: children need more role models than just those of one profession, even if the profession is as laudable as teaching. Because children in JA get to experience volunteers from all types of professions, they are exposed to thoughts, vocabulary and techniques that they otherwise would not be able to experience. I’m sure you can remember sitting in a classroom, staring out the window, and yearning for the real world. In the Junior Achievement program, the real world comes to the classroom, and the result is often a class full of the most attentive students one might see all year.

In addition to the enriching experience brought by diverse role models, the classroom discussions of entrepreneurship go a long way for today’s students. Most children do not entertain business or entrepreneurship in their early years, opting instead for the ever-popular astronautical direction. The fact of the matter is that too few Americans are exposed to entrepreneurship despite the fact that America was largely built on business pioneers.

From a philosophical standpoint, I would make the argument that each of us is a business of self, with a daily need to balance profit and loss, equity and debt, and invest in our financial futures. Without a solid exposure to business practices, children are left without any positive guidance towards personal finance. Conversely, they seem fully able to perform calculus by the twelfth grade; the usefulness of which is still up for debate.

Simply put, Junior Achievement is a well-rounded way to expose today’s children to incredibly important and potentially life-altering knowledge. If you’d like more information about getting into a classroom to volunteer, visit jaconn.org today!


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