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Junior Achievement overcomes COVID challenges to help local children

“The intention is to get kids interested in learning about money so they’re more educated and responsible adults,” says the Junior Achievement area coordinator

Each year, hundreds of Junior Achievement programs are brought to local schools across Canada to teach children financial literacy, entrepreneurship and employability.

And despite the lockdowns and closures over the past two years, Junior Achievement (JA) has been able to reach over 250 children in the Midland, Penetanguishene, Orillia and Coldwater areas, according to Rebecca Ness, Area Coordinator for Junior Achievement Northern and Eastern Ontario.

“Typically run as a one-day instructional program, JA was successful in setting up a virtual classroom and bringing the programs online thanks to local volunteers and sponsors,” said Ness.

“The intention is to get children interested in learning about money so they are more educated and responsible adults.”

JA programs are made possible by local sponsors, requested by teachers, and run by volunteers from the financial or business sectors.

“They’re fun and interactive, and depending on the program, they teach kids how credit cards work, how to create a budget, different investing and saving strategies, how to align interests and passions with potential career paths, what employers are looking for, and so on many other important money matters,” said Ness.

She credits local sponsors who ensure the ongoing success of the program. These include: LabX Media, the Huronia Foundation Community and the Orillia Rotary Club, as well as corporate sponsors from TD, CIBC and HSBC.

Local volunteers who have given their time to help run programs this past school year were: Jessica Wicks (CIBC at the time of the program, now), Karen George Lancaster (BMO), Rebecca Ness (Century 21 Millennium Inc), Peggy Onlock (CIBC retired). ), Sarah Jane Vandenberg (The Career Growth Co), Adam Burton (financial advisor, IPC Securities) and Erika Cowen (F5).

And as a new school year approaches, Ness said how the programs will be conducted in 2022-23 has yet to be determined.

“Whether the online format continues a little longer or in-person programs are allowed to resume, the content is something our children will benefit from,” she said.

Anyone interested in volunteering or sponsoring a program in the area this fall, or teachers who would like a board-approved program for their class, can click here. please visit https://ww.ja-neo.org.

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