It's mind-boggling that students can attend school for 12 years but still graduate with few pertinent life skills.  As parents, we have to accept a good portion of the blame.  It's our job to equip our kids for the adult world.  Some fault also lies with our kids, who are exposed to these skills at home and school and yet they simply don't pay attention.  The thing is, life lessons are best learned in real-life situations.  That's what makes Junior Achievement's BizTown such a success.

Junior Achievement is predominately a volunteer organization that helps prepare students for the working world by teaching financial literacy and encouraging young entrepreneurs.  Individual and corporate donations make JA possible.

JA offers dozens of programs.  The one I'm most familiar with is BizTown.  It's the highlight of education for kids in fourth through sixth grade.  My older kids loved it and my youngest can't wait to make her trip to Chesterfield for BizTown this week.  As a volunteer, I'll get to reinforce the skills the kids have practiced in class to use in this real-life scenario

Students prepare for weeks with in-class learning before a visit to BizTown.  It's a simulated town with banks, city governments, corporations, stores and media outlets.  The kids write checks, run for office and operate 17 businesses.  It teaches them how to function in the real world, with interactive opportunities to apply classroom learning while using teamwork and problem-solving skills.

If your school isn't taking part in Junior Achievement, talk to an administrator. Studies show when students learn by doing, their experience has much more impact and is more memorable.

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