It is our partnership that is our strength
By: Karen Gallant, Vice President, Programs and Charter Services
This time next year, Ontario students in grade 10 will be participating in mandatory financial literacy curriculum as part of their career course. Many people ask me about JA’s view on this, and they are looking to understand the impact it might have on JA’s recognized and proven programs, and I am always happy to sit down and share our perspective.
As a youth-serving organization, JA Canada is supportive of providing students with every opportunity to learn the necessary and essential skills needed for their future success. The movement in Ontario to mandatory financial literacy education is another positive step forward for students and provides JA an even greater opportunity to provide our programs to students across the province.
As a country, we are seeing the negative impacts of individuals not having the basic understanding of financial literacy. Yet, we can change this and put our youth on the right path forward. If we build children’s knowledge at a young age, and cultivate that learning throughout their life, they can develop the necessary skills to successfully take them through their life.
As our President, Scott Hillier, recently said, “We are grateful to have the support of so many outstanding corporate partners. Corporate support and dedicated volunteers allow us to bring JA programs into classrooms across the country each day completely free of charge.” This is so true. Without our donors and partners, it simply wouldn’t be possible to reach students and make an impact.
A great example of this is the support we received from HSBC. In 2017, HSBC helped JA Canada expand one of our newest programs - More than Money. This interactive classroom program uses games and multimedia to help grade 3-5 students learn about earning, spending, sharing and saving money. The program is not only fun and interactive, but it provides essential learning to help students understand how proper money management can improve their lives and how their financial choices can impact others.
This week, I heard about a teacher who was quoted as saying, “JA makes me a better teacher.” This statement makes me proud and very thankful. Obviously, this teacher is a proud supporter of JA, and we are grateful for all of our teachers’ ongoing support. JA has a very proud and long-standing partnership with our schools and with our teachers. Teachers and their schools request JA programs because they see the value of our program, the alignment to the curriculum and the power of the volunteer. Financial literacy in the classroom is essential. JA programs complement the existing curriculum and provide experiential learning and real-life experience from our business volunteers.
Financial literacy education makes our students, our classrooms, our country and our economy better. Our youth are our future, and we need to do everything possible to make sure we are giving them the support and guidance they need to own their future success. Teachers, JA and our volunteers share the same foundation and commitment to preparing youth to be successful in gaining the skills they need. It is a powerful partnership that will continue to grow and make a positive impact whether there is mandatory curriculum or not. We must all continue to work together to ensure every student has access to financial literacy education.
Throughout November, JA Canada focused on celebrating financial literacy month, but let`s not allow this conversation to end. Whether it is in the classroom or our homes, let’s help our youth continue to learn and experience financial literacy every day.