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Monday, June 27, 2022

Financial literacy

John A. Wojtecki
Doctor John A. Wojtecki has 45 years of experience in Human Resources, Safety, and Training serving the toy, food, plastics, steel, and office furniture industries. John operates his own consulting business and is a Certified Facilitator in Real Colors. He is a volunteer with the Quad Cities Mediation Service. He posts monthly on his LinkedIn account.

Muscatine Living

Every once and a while, I see an article that wants or maintains a need for financial literacy in schools. I understand that. It is difficult to disagree with this aspect of life and learning. Junior Achievement is an attempt to address that issue. I had a chance to talk to Katie from Junior Achievement recently about the organization’s goals and objectives, and programs run at their location in Davenport.

Junior Achievement is the world’s largest organization dedicated to educating students in grades K-12 about entrepreneurship, work readiness, and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs. Their mission is, “to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy.”

I found several of their statistics most revealing of their noble effort. The Davenport office serves 24 counties with 1,600 volunteers and has reached 50,000 students in 1,714 classrooms. Impressive numbers. Locations served include the Quad Cities, Muscatine, Burlington, Mediapolis, Dubuque, Sauk Valley, Illinois Valley, and others. Quite the reach for this one office.
There is a curriculum for elementary, middle school, and high school. I remember serving as a volunteer for both middle and high schools here in Muscatine. It was positive for me.

There is no summer break for financial literacy. Junior Achievement runs what they call indoor day camp for 10-12 year-olds. This program is designed to educate and enhance the camper’s financial literacy learning, while infusing entrepreneurship, work and career readiness, teamwork, marketing, philanthropy, and public speaking. I find this interesting, since I discuss many of these things in my articles.

Katie used a term in our conversation. I have seen the term capstone used in my master’s program. Capstone with Junior Achievement takes on a whole new meaning. Classroom-based JA Capstone Virtual JA BizTown combines in-class learning with a day-long visit to a simulated town. This popular learning experience allows elementary school students to operate banks, manage restaurants, write checks, and vote for mayor. Students are able to connect the dots between what they learn in school and the real world. This is a pretty impressive curriculum. Hopefully, one day I will be able to watch this in action.

Here are a few quotations from a Muscatine teacher, students, and volunteer:

“I really appreciate the support that JA gives my students in my classroom. Hearing the message about being a productive member in our community and working hard toward your goals is so important—for students to hear this from a community member and not just from me as their teacher is really powerful!” – Muscatine teacher

“Junior Achievement BizTown makes students aware of how an adult’s life is at work and the responsibility adults have – helping youth realize the things they need to do to prepare for being adults.” – JA BizTown volunteer, Muscatine

“JA will help me to make wise choices in my present and future life. – Muscatine student

“JA has helped me to understand how to budget and save money.” – Muscatine student

Do keep in mind that volunteers are always needed. If you are interested, you can always contact Junior Achievement through their website, jaheartland.org.

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