Our increasingly digital culture seems to lend itself to entrepreneurship more than any other time. That opens a lot of doors for the youth of today, but being successful in any kind of business is about more than negotiations and trademarking good ideas. Financial literacy is a fundamental skill that is central to the success of any entrepreneurial endeavor, and is one that too often gets passed over.
Junior Achievement (JA) Worldwide is an organization with the mission to change that. Powered by over 450,000 volunteers and mentors, JA Worldwide reaches over 10 million young people each year. By inspiring our youth with goals and tools they need to succeed early on, their chances of succeeding increase dramatically as they reach the age where they’re ready to put those ideas into the world.
These early lessons include:
- The value and power of communities
- How to start businesses and set actionable goals
- Understanding and managing money
In many cases these principles transform the way young people think about their own possibilities. Particularly in developing areas where joblessness is common, having the tools and confidence to put oneself out there creates tomorrow’s leaders.
JA Worldwide will celebrate 100 years of empowering youth in 2019. To celebrate this milestone they’re launching a program called “100 Lives”, an initiative to showcase alumni of the program who have gone on to make a difference around the globe.
BNI has been proud to contribute to JA Worldwide’s efforts for several years, even before the Business Voices movement took off. This partnership is more significant than ever these days as empowering our students becomes a major focus.
Just as in Business Voices we’ve seen that people combining their networks and resources can achieve amazing things for students of schools worldwide, like-minded organizations can move mountains.
Jennifer Taylor, mortgage lender for BNI Success Express, has been teaching personal finance classes to 7th and 8th graders in the JA program for years. She’s felt strongly about this, since money management is simply not something taught in schools. At one point, for example, Jennifer had to do a 30 minute session on the difference between a debit card and credit card. Students did not realize people have to put money in an account for a debit card to work, or that you have to pay back the money you spend with credit cards.
It’s easy to dismiss that as “Ah, they’re just young,” but growing up without those misconceptions prevents bad choices.
JA Worldwide has an entire curriculum on financial literacy with a proven success record, which allows folks like Jennifer to give a consistent learning experience to kids that need it. We encourage you to find your local JA office and find out how you can support their important work.