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Money talk in the classroom

Volunteers with the Junior Achievement of the Michigan Great Lakes program teach kids the value of money, and how to become financially independent.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Alexandra Crow is a relationship manager with United Bank of Michigan, and she volunteers her time to teach young students in classrooms all across West Michigan, financial literacy, budgeting and how to become financially independent through a program called Junior Achievement of the Michigan Great Lakes.

“United Bank has been involved with Junior Achievement for over 20 years," says Crow. "And seeing the volunteers and the students who have been a part of JA for so long and their success stories, it just really inspired me.”

The Junior Achievement of the Michigan Great Lakes program has been around since 1955, and covers 50 counties across West Michigan. It serves some 70,000 students in more than 320 schools. Their mission is to inspire and prepare young people to succeed. 

Alex mostly works with young students - Kindergarten, 4th and 5th grades this school year, at Northview Schools and Grand Rapids Public Schools. The program teaches kids in Kindergarten through 12th grade in high school. Alex says its rewarding to see her own 8-year-old daughter, who works with Junior Achievement in school to learn important life skills.

Amid the pandemic, money lessons have been done virtually, but Alex says the students have easily adapted to the teaching platform and she looks forward to a return to normal life to get back into the classroom in real life. 

For parents that are looking to keep the money lessons going through the summer, Alex recommends they encourage entrepreneurship, like starting a lemonade stand, or letting kids decide price tags for yard sale items. 

To learn more about becoming a volunteer with Junior Achievement, click here. 

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