You only need to give five hours

by Penny Hurtt

What zones allow a grocery store? How much sales tax is there on a $5 purchase?  I don’t want to pay interest on a credit card, I’d rather use the debit card.

These questions and comments came from third grade students at Lincoln Elementary, during the first two weeks of the Junior Achievement program ‘Our City’, not from a group of adults. In the Our City program the students learn about cities and how people and businesses in cities manage money. The students have already come to understand the meaning of zones in cities, how taxes are used to support cities and the ways people pay for goods and services and are having fun in the process. In the coming weeks they will be learning about how banks and savings work, create a business plan to open a restaurant, and learn how businesses communicate with the public. The students look forward to the lessons and since the materials, including the games they play, stay in the classroom, they continue to learn long after the classes are complete.

Junior Achievement USA is the nation’s largest organization dedicated to educating students in grades K-12 about entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs designed to help young people understand the economics of life. In partnership with businesses and educators, JA brings the real world to students, opening their minds to their potential.

Close to 20 years ago Junior Achievement came to my employer looking for volunteers to present their program at local elementary schools and I signed up. Junior Achievement provided the training and materials. Here it is 2015 and I am still enjoying a rewarding experience at Lincoln Elementary. I have instructed at the third, fourth and fifth grade levels at LES, with each class offering unique insights into the world around them.

The students at every level deserve the opportunity to experience what JA has to offer. In order to accomplish this, more volunteers are needed. Each program lasts for 5 weeks, with classes typically held once a week for approximately 45 minutes. Think about it, if you would volunteer to teach one class in one grade level, and find 3 friends to do the same, you each give up five hours of your time and make a lasting contribution to a child’s future.

Want to know more, check out the details at, you can sign-up as a volunteer on the site. Be sure to indicate that you want to volunteer at LES.


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