IU South Bend Judd Leighton School of Business and Economics students recently participated in “JA in a Day” to bring financial education to over 625 students at Harrison Primary School. Twenty-one Leighton School students engaged kindergarten through fourth graders in activities ranging from reading stories about earning and saving money to kindergarteners to introducing second graders to the election process by setting up an election where the children cast their ballots for real-life candidates and earned “I Voted” stickers.
“This was the first year, we were able to offer this program at Harrison,” said Colleen Huber, Junior Achievement program director. “The Leighton School students really stepped up. We supplied all the teaching materials, and they introduced the idea and facilitated the game or activity associated with the concept.”
Leighton faculty Raj Kohli, Vicar Valencia, and Guanlin Gao encouraged students to volunteer. The students, mostly finance and economics majors, were very co-operative and the entire process was completed in short period of less than two months. Seventeen of the twenty-one students attending the event came from the Financial Decision Making Class. “We support this partnership because it gives our students an opportunity to put their knowledge and skills to good use. Participating in JA in a Day is a perfect opportunity to do just that as well as support the community,” said Professor Kohli.
Based on surveys completed by Leighton students who participated in the program, they gained a lot from the experience as well. “One Leighton student noted on his survey that it was a learning experience all around,” said Huber.
With just one training session, Leighton students were paired in a classroom where they tested their presentation and public speaking skills on young audiences. The challenge was to break down civic, financial, and business information, including the vocabulary, into concepts and ideas young children could grasp.
“All in all, I think JA in a Day was a very positive experience for Harrison Primary students and staff and Leighton School students,” comment Huber. “I felt as though the Leighton students were a great reflection on the Leighton School. They were well prepared; they were dressed professionally; and, they were positive role models for the Harrison students.”