Shelton students learn financial skills through JA program

Shelton Intermediate School (SIS) students learned about economics and business during the “JA in Two Days” initiative, held in collaboration with JA of Western Connecticut.

Forty local business professionals, parents and community representatives taught two Junior Achievement interactive programs to almost 900 students.

Seventh grade students participated in JA Economics for Success, which explores personal finance and students’ education and career options based on their skills, interests and values, while demonstrating the economic benefits of staying in school.

Eighth grade students attended JA America Works, focusing on how business and entrepreneurship affected the economic development of the United States during the 19th century.

Teaching economic and financial skills

“Research has shown that too many young people reach adulthood lacking economic and financial skills to manage their personal finances or to meet the demands of the workplace,” said Bernadine Venditto, JA of Western Connecticut president.

Last year, 4,900 students in the greater Valley area participated in JA programs, and Venditto hopes to expand that number in the future.

Sponsors of “JA in Two Days” included the Valley United Way, a special needs grant award and the Pitney Bowes Foundation. Jack Walsh, president and chief operating officer of the Shelton-based Valley United Way, was one of the instructors.

Provides insight to students

Bob Ayer, SIS enrichment specialist, said JA programs have impact. “Junior Achievement has proven to be a successful extension of the classroom in providing our students valuable insight into the world of economics and business,” Ayer said.

Kenneth D. Saranich, SIS headmaster, said the JA program has been implemented into student success plans at the school. “This correlation allows the school system to collaboratively work with our community in educating and planning for the future of our students,” Saranich said.

About Junior Achievement

Junior Achievement is the world’s nonprofit largest organization dedicated to teaching students about financial literacy, entrepreneurship and work readiness.

It reaches nearly 9.9 million students around the globe, with more than 20,000 participating through JA of Western Connecticut in the lower Naugatuck Valley, greater Bridgeport and greater Danbury areas.

JA’s in-school and after-school programs are offered in kindergarten to 12th grade. Volunteers from the local business community teach programs designed to promote education and the free enterprise system through hands-on experience and the basic principles of economics and finance.

For information about local JA activities, call Bernadine Venditto at 203-382-0180, ext. 13.