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Elms College Students Mentor Ninth-graders at JA Event

SPRINGFIELD — More than 50 students from Elms College volunteered to serve as mentors at a JA Economics for Success event hosted by Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts on Oct. 10. The event was held at Putnam High School in Springfield.

The JA Economics for Success event offered ninth-grade students practical information about personal finance, as well as the importance of identifying education and career goals based on a student’s skills, interests, and values. Through a series of six 45-minute sessions, students learned how to explore their skills, interests, values, and the world of work to make informed education, career, and life decisions. They also developed their knowledge of personal finance so they can apply strong financial-management skills regardless of their income.

The program was designed to correlate with state social studies, English, and math standards, as well as to the Common Core state standards in English/language arts and mathematics.

The Elms College students were on hand to act as mentors, guiding the ninth-graders through the sessions and helping them learn important life skills, including decision making, planning, spending, and more.

“The students were into credit and debit cards, saving money to benefit their future. I enjoyed communicating about saving money to younger students, helping them prepare for their futures,” said accounting major Kami Sierra.

Added management major Josh Keaton, “I didn’t have this in high school, and I wish I did.”

Putnam teacher Theodore Hawkes said the program exceeded his expectations. “Our students gained problem-solving, teamwork, and decision-making skills, and were able to explore different career options.”

Amanda Garcia, director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and associate professor of Accounting and Finance at Elms College, called the event “such a great experience for Elms students. This opportunity allows our students to apply their critical thinking and presentations skills, to be role models, and to give back to our local community, which is part of the mission at Elms College.”

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