Department Partners with Junior Achievement to Teach Economic Principles to Kids

JA Volunteers
UW Economics students and alumni volunteers for JA Day at Broadview-Thomson K-8 in Seattle.

The Department of Economics is excited to partner with Junior Achievement of Washington to bring economics education into elementary school classrooms in the Northwest. Junior Achievement (JA) is part of the world's largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices.

On Friday, May 27, several UW Economics undergraduates and alumni volunteered to teach economic principles to kids from kindergarten through third grade at Broadview-Thomson K-8 in Seattle. Each volunteer is assigned to his or her own classroom using a curriculum that is activity-based and grade-specific, and is invited to bring real-world experience and perspective to the conversation. JA provides online training and all the program materials needed to enjoy the classroom experience to the fullest. 

"My 2nd graders were great and they said that it was one of the best days they had all year!" said volunteer Kyle Stewart (BA '08). Volunteer Christina Tapia (PhD '09) said, "As a volunteer teacher, I had such a fun experience with students and staff at the school. When I introduced myself as a JA volunteer to the 3rd-grade students in Mr. Anderson's class, a few students literally squealed with excitement. Clearly, the JA program has left a positive impression!"  

Economics alumnus and Visiting Committee member Jeff Lewis (BA '89) was instrumental in bringing this opportunity to the department. A JA board member, Jeff has volunteered as a mentor with the Economics mentorship program for five years. Jeff volunteered in Ms. Harris' third grade classroom at Broadview-Thomson. 

Conceived as a way for undergraduates in the department's mentorship program to apply the skills and concepts they are developing as mentees to real-world situations, JA invites current Economics students and recent alumni to volunteer their time teaching kids a preliminary understanding of money and the principles of earning, spending, and saving. Volunteers interested in creating positive change by empowing the future are encouraged to learn more at www.jawashington.org