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Junior Achievement prepares students for life

Davina Comstock is the Foothills region co-ordinator for Junior Achievement Southern Alberta. She spoke to Chamber of Commerce members on Thursday.

A non-profit organization is teaching students financial literacy, entrepreneurial skills and preparing them for the workplace.

Junior Achievement regional co-ordinator Davina Comstock gave a presentation Thursday to the Fort Macleod Chamber of Commerce.

“The reason I am here today is to create more awareness about Junior Achievement,” Comstock said.

Comstock told Chamber members gathered at the G.R. Davis Administration Building that Junior Achievement works with the two Fort Macleod schools.

Junior Achievement has 11 programs for students in Grade 4-12.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic the programs were delivered in classrooms, but have moved to on-line in keeping with pubic health measures.

Community volunteers deliver three one-hour programs.

There are other Junior Achievement programs that are longer, with some delivered by teachers.

An area of focus for Junior Achievement is financial literacy.

“We want to teach students about money and risk management,” Comstock said. “We want them to understand the importance of budgeting, saving, spending and credit, etc.”

Comstock said on the entrepreneur side of things, Junior Achievement hopes to inspire children at a young age to be innovative and creative about jobs and careers.

Comstock said too often young people are directed toward jobs and careers without knowing it is possible for them to have their own business.

Grade 4 students learn the basics of financial literacy. Grade 5 students begin to learn about business, and by Grade 6 they create their own business which they will present in a Dragon’s Den setting.

In Grade 7 students learn about budgeting and money management, and in Grade 8 they learn about teamwork, diversity and inclusivity in the workplace.

Junior Achievement teaches Grade 9 students the economics of success, including making a budget and information about post-secondary.

High school lessons include investment strategies, trading stocks, and mutual funds, and taking part in a national stock challenge competition.

There is also a focus in high school on personal finances, budgeting, the importance of good credit and how interest works.

Junior Achievement is developing a company program in which students from across the south will work virtually in groups to create and sell products.

A World of Choices event is organized each year in which career mentors speak to students on professions and career paths.

“All of our program align with the current Alberta curriculum,” Comstock added.

To teach students about entrepreneurship, Junior Achievement recruits business owners or people who understand business to lead programs.

“We teach them how to create an idea, we teach them the fundamentals in business,” Comstock said.

The work readiness component of Junior Achievement provides students with life skills such as teamwork, understanding diversity and inclusion, and a foundation that empowers young people to make good financial, fiscal and innovative ideas.

Junior Achievement volunteers play important roles as mentors and role models for young people, helping them believe they can succeed.

Junior Achievement trains its volunteers and provides the materials students need.

“We really pride ourselves on giving volunteers new skills and new experiences, and the ability to connect with youth in their community” Comstock said.

Junior Achievement is always recruiting new volunteers and people to advocate on the program’s behalf.

For information about Junior Achievement or to volunteer, contact Davina Comstock at 403-605-1050 or dcomstock@jasouthalberta.org.

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