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Junior Achievement offers virtual education resources, career guidance

JA's programs focus on three pillars: financial literacy, career readiness and entrepreneurship.

ST. LOUIS — With students, teachers and parents across the St. Louis area adjusting to a new normal of at-home learning, Junior Achievement of Greater St. Louis is offering its resources virtually to help.

JA Senior Project Manager Sheila Farrell said since schools have been closed due to COVID-19, the organization has received more than 38,000 requests for its programming. That number includes requests from about 120 schools in the area.

"It's kind of crazy, the requests we're getting in," Farrell said. "From one individual parent, they may have one, two or three children at home. They may be elementary, middle and high school, and they could order up to 25 of our programs."

JA's programs focus on three pillars: financial literacy, career readiness and entrepreneurship. Parents and teachers can select programs by grade level on JA's website

"Typically they're implemented and taught by volunteers," Farrell said. "Unfortunately, right now, volunteers can't go into the classroom and teach students. So this gives parents, teachers, educators and students an opportunity to still receive our programs, even though they're not in the classroom. Teachers can implement our programs remotely. Parents can teach their students through our digital resources."

Farrell said the programs are important because they provide a good foundation from students of all grade levels to have a positive, beneficial relationship with money, chasing their dreams and building toward their futures. It's a process she said should not be put on hold because of COVID-19. 

"We're also working with the YMCA," Farrell said. "There are some YMCAs out there that are still providing emergency care for healthcare workers. So, they have requested programs."

Additionally, JA had to cancel its annual career fair due to COVID-19 guidelines. Farrell said the fair brings in more than 2,000 students each year. This year, JA is working to recruit virtual volunteers to create informational videos about their careers for students. If you would like to participate, you can send an email to Farrell at sfarrell@jastl.org.

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