Melissa: From a JA Student in Ecuador to a JA Volunteer in Tennessee
Author: Hannah Henry
Published: Friday, 15 Feb 2019
Junior Achievement - Ecuador launched the "Bancos en Accion" Program in the year 2000 in several High Schools across the country. The curriculum covered several courses delivered in a class environment, but also challenged High Schools in the country to compete for a chance to participate in the Latin American Bancos en Accion (Banks in Action) competition, sponsored by Citigroup, (Citi) in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
I was one of the 11th graders who had the opportunity to participate in the program, and one of the three lucky winners who represented Ecuador in the Latin American competition. Junior Achievement (JA) taught me about key principles of the banking industry and the challenges of successfully operating a bank in a competitive environment. One of the key concepts was to learn how banks operate, recognize the characteristics of banking services and products, and evaluate potential career opportunities in banking.
I was a teenager then, and although I truly enjoyed learning, winning, and traveling to another country, little did I know that almost one decade later I would start my career in Jacksonville, FL working for non-other than Citi. The idea of Citi being the bank that opened its doors to High school student a long time ago in support of financial literacy never crossed my mind, until I learned that Citi was still a proud sponsor of Junior Achievement.
Today, almost 20 years since my participation in Junior Achievement's Bancos en Accion, and over 13 years of working at Citi, I am a true believer and passionate advocate of the JA curriculum and its programs.
Junior Achievement taught me at a young age the importance of learning about Financial Literacy, and Citi has continued to provide opportunities to broaden my knowledge. I am an active Junior Achievement volunteer serving the community by teaching the JA curriculum in Elementary and Middle Schools in the Tri Cities, TN area.
Amy Kneesey, Vice Chairman of the Brevard County School Board
"It’s a way to expand our curriculum without having to put out more resources. That’s a win for everyone."
Beth Westfall, Assistant Principal West Side Elementary School
"JA is relevant to my school, more so now than ever."
Hilah R. Mercer, Principal Cambridge Elementary Magnet School
"Junior Achievement is an outstanding, motivating program for our elementary students. Several of [our teachers] had JA volunteers last year and all had great praise for the program"
Michael Johnson, PhD, UCF Professor, College of Education
"I have long believed that this JA experience is so valuable for our UCF students and that actually it is a rare win for all experience, the UCF students, the school teachers, the school students, the UCF Education Profs, and the JA sponsors."
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