Junior Achievement inspires area

Faith Griffin

Topeka’s youth are being inspired by Washburn business students through Junior Achievement.

“Junior Achievement educates and inspires young people to value free enterprise, business and economics to improve the quality of their lives,” said Linda Smith, president of Junior Achievement of Northeast, Kan.

This program also teaches the youth different concepts of how business principles relate to the work force.

According to the Junior Achievement Web site, Junior Achievement is the world’s largest and fastest-growing non-profit economic education organization. Its programs are taught by classroom volunteers from the community in both the U.S. and more than 100 countries worldwide.

Washburn school of business has been partners of Junior Achievement for 15 years. The last two years have become much stronger, according to Smith.

Washburn business students give their time to teach children what they have learned. On a national basis volunteers teach grades K-12. Washburn students work with the fifth and sixth graders.

The children learn how they can contribute to their family and become better family members. This non-profit organization stresses the importance of contributing to their community. The youth also learn that voting is a key factor in building a strong city, according to Smith.

The skills that the children learn can be translated in their personal affairs, including their personal finance and how to handle debt.

Scholarships are available on a national basis for the children in the program. Volunteers are also able to apply for the scholarships. For Washburn business students, in the process of teaching the children business principles, they are also learning.

“Washburn Business students get just as much out of it as the kids do,” said Smith.

The business students visit the class of their choice that coincides with their schedule. They teach that class for 1 hour and 30 minutes for five visits in a two-week period. This gives the business students a chance to get to know the students.

“We are appreciative of Washburn students’ help,” said Smith.

Ty Walrod, senior business accounting and financing major, has been involved with Junior Achievement for three years.

“It’s rewarding. You’re teaching kids something valuable. It’s fun to run into kids and see them in the community and they know my name and remember who I am,” said Walrod.

Walrod believes that Junior Achievement is an investment for the future.

“It is great for the community, the kids and everyone involved. It is an investment for the business community. It’s also a way to give back to the community,” said Walrod.