Junior Achievement brings the community into the classroom | PostIndependent.com

Junior Achievement brings the community into the classroom

Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Submitted PhotoIan Exelbert, market president for U.S. Bank in Glenwood, explains bank security to Ms. Comings' second-grade class during a field trip to the bank. Ian is currently teaching JA's "Our Community" at Sopris Elementary, and is a long-time volunteer and past board member for Junior Achievement.

The Roaring Fork and Colorado River valleys have not been isolated from the nation’s economic downturn.

For the last 10 years Junior Achievement of the Roaring Fork Valley volunteers have taught students that the longer they stay in school, the stronger their earning potential becomes. Businesses benefit when we have young adults with a solid education.

In coordination with Roaring Fork School District Re-1 and the Garfield County School District Re-2 schools, Junior Achievement uses volunteers who donate an hour a week for six weeks to show kids how business and economics can improve the quality of their lives. These classes are designed to teach kids from kindergarten through high school that business development is the engine that drives our economy and creates jobs. JA focuses on workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy.

Junior Achievement is a community driven organization that needs the financial support of the business community. It requires a good relationship with the valley’s school districts to reach children while they are in a school setting. This year we will reach 2,500 students in 125 classes in elementary, middle school and high school from Aspen to Parachute. This is quite a leap from the 10 classes that were taught in 1999.

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The mission of JA is unique to Garfield and Pitkin counties. There is no other program that allows volunteers from our community to teach students how to connect their classroom learning to the real world. Studies show that students who participate in JA programs are better prepared for career planning and business success. When they begin working for businesses in the valley, they have better workplace ethics and a better understanding of economic concepts.

Junior Achievement has different options on how it can use the talents of volunteers to reach students. The most common option is a volunteer who takes on one of the five- or six-week classes. Other options include the eighth-graders’ career days, an after-school program, or working in a high school setting discussing banking and business.

Last year, in honor of Junior Achievement’s loyal volunteers, Junior Achievement of the Roaring Valley set up a scholarship foundation to present a scholarship to a high school senior with an interest in business or entrepreneurship to help them continue their education. This year, we are proud to again offer this opportunity to a deserving graduating senior.

Junior Achievement and its dedicated board of directors includes three members who have actively served since the organization’s inception. Chet Garling, general sales manager at Toyota in Glenwood Springs; Robin Tolan, director of development at YouthZone; and Peter Waller, general contractor for Klomhaus and Waller, have all been with Junior Achievement of the Roaring Fork Valley since 1999.

Currently, Junior Achievement is in full-swing in classrooms valleywide. But volunteers are still needed, especially for the Carbondale Re-1 Career Day for Boys on April14 from 8:30 a.m. to noon. To volunteer or to donate to this important organization, please contact Sharon Brady, district manager at 404-7722 or e-mail sharon.brady@ja.org. For more information, please visit our website at http://www.jaroaringfork.com.

For additional information, contact Brady; Susan Blizzard, JA board president, 379-6788; Chet Garling, 274-1436; Pete Waller, 618-4892; or Robin Tolan, 379-1365.

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