Empowering young people to own their economic success – that's the goal of Junior Achievement.
With help from 20 volunteers from Huntington Bank, JA visited Dunbar Intermediate School on Tuesday to give students a one-day workshop.
"It's an accelerated program, from what we normally present," said Sally Reed Snyder, Program Manager with Junior Achievement of West Virginia and the Advantage Valley. "The students are shown how to save money, be financially literate, job readiness, entrepreneurship and good citizenship."
Planning for college isn't the answer from everyone, she stressed.
"A lot of times, students are pushed towards college," Snyder explained. "But there are hundreds if not thousands of jobs that one could learn through technical or trade schools and make just as much money and sometimes more. College may not be for you, and that's okay. Junior Achievement wants to be on the forefront of helping kids make those decisions."
At the elementary school level, students go through six stages, depending on grade – Ourselves, Our Families, Our Community, Our City, Our Region and Our Nation.
"It's exciting for our students to learn about what goes on outside these four walls," said Sharon Brooks, principal at Dunbar Intermediate School. "It's an opportunity that they don't get often. They had a ball. The volunteers were very interactive with the students and they were very engaged."
Critical to JA's success is its partnership with business and educators.
"Our business volunteers give the students someone in the industry already that they can look up to," Snyder said."
"Huntington Bank has been wonderful," Brooks said. "They started out with us in a project that gave backpacks to all our students that needed one. That's how the contact was made to bring in Junior Achievement.
"This is our first time we've had Junior Achievement here. Our students need to look forward to the future at all their possibilities, and how they can make a difference. It's a partnership that we'd like to keep."
"The kids were very interested and it went real well," said Bill Crum, vice president and regional manager of corporate affairs of Huntington Bank. "We were learning about free market system and how business works. The students were coming up with their own ideas, learning to sell it to other people, how to make a profit and how important that is to help the economy. They were even coming up with advertising campaigns.
"Eventually they're going into the workforce. This is to give them an opportunity to see how that works with all of the options they may see."
To learn about Junior Achievement, visit www.ja.org
For more information about Huntington, visit www.huntington.com