Junior Achievement Exchange City

Today my son and the three fifth grade classes at his school were able to take part in the Junior Achievement Exchange City. I was one of the 14 parent volunteers who was able to be part of it all. This is coolest thing. For the past six weeks, the fifth grade classes at my son’s school have been learning about running a business, profit and loss, writing checks, balancing ledgers, etc. In Tempe, there is a fully simulated city sponsored by many businesses here in the phoenix area such as Motorola, Bank of America, etc. This city has a bank, city hall, radio station, newspaper, and many shops. Each shop was ran by students. Each shop has a computer which the student accountant uses to print checks, manage bills and income, etc. Each shop has an owner. The owner is responsible for going to the bank to take a business loan to run his/her business, manage the employees, etc. Each shop has student employees who produce goods and services in order for the shop to have income. Each student citizen receives paychecks which he/she must deposit at the bank and then go around the town to purchase goods and services from all the shops with their checkbook. There is a post office where student postal employees must deliver and receive all of the mail in the town. There are student police officers who issue tickets to any student citizen who breaks the defined set of laws such as no walking on the grass, etc. If a student citizen receives a ticket, he/she must go to city hall to appear in court and pay a fine. It was such a great experience for the kids. What a great way to introduce these kids to a little bit of the real world. The city is amazing. It is set up with computers, realistic store fronts, and even Tempe Town Lake. Each of the students were chosen ahead of time for each of their roles. There was a head banker who approved the loans that each of the business owners applied for to run their businesses, the computers were all networked together and students were required to write checks for all of their purchases throughout the town. There were check verification machines to determine if the presented check was good for the amount written. There was a student who was the town mayor and a judge. Each shop created a logo which they each had to bring to the sign shop where my son was working. He was the sign shop sign maker (since he is such a good artist). The goal of for each shop owner was to make enough income from the sale of goods and services in order to pay back the business loan. As income came in, it was applied to the loan. Once the loan is paid back, the shop begins to realize a profit. It was such an awesome experience for these kids and I was very excited that I was chosen to be part of it all.

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