Junior Achievement helps kids learn about business

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by Kaley O'Kelley

Bio | Email | Follow: @KaleyOKelley

azfamily.com

Posted on March 20, 2013 at 1:46 PM

Updated Monday, Mar 25 at 11:38 AM

PHOENIX  -- Wednesday is "Arizona Gives Day",  the first-ever statewide day of giving to help non-profits.

There are so many great non-profits out there that could use your donation. One of those is Junior Achievement.

One of JA's star programs is called Biz Town.There's a Cox Cable store, A Diamondbacks ticket office, even a Papa John's Pizza.

But this special town has some unusual citizens. That's because they're all in grade school.

Since 2001, more than 125,000 fifth and sixth graders have come here for the day to learn how business works, and discover what they may want to do when they grow up.

"When they come here they not only know their job, but they see some of the 130 other jobs and see what's going on and how it works," says JA President, Joyce Richards. "They not only get to explore their own job they have for the day, they also get to look at their peers around them and see what they're doing and may actually change their mind during the day." 

Biz Town obviously gets a little help from corporate donations. But JA helps kids of all ages.

"Every dollar  that comes into this organization has one purpose," says Richards. "And that is to deliver programs to over 96,000  kindergarten through high school students to give them the skills to become successful young adults. "

The kids study at school before they get to Biz Town, then spend the day running their businesses, learning what it's like to earn a paycheck, write fake checks, and keep a business running.

"You just feel older and more mature," says one young participant, who "worked" in the Diamondbacks front office.

Then there was Lauren, who served as mayor for the day. "I think it's sort of fun to be able to do things in a higher goal," she says. "It's just really fun."

Organizers say nearly every kid benefits from the program. It can give students more confidence, which in turn can translate into higher grades and doing better at school.
 

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