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When Skyline Vista Elementary School students visited Young AmeriTowne last spring, they were fortunate to have volunteers from JPMorgan Chase & Co. helping them out. Melissa Bowman, Casey Karcich, Shanee Ceja, and Lesly Nicole, who all work at Chase, served as “business consultants” in AmeriTowne, helping students determine their pricing strategy, assisting the shop accountants, and reminding students about their schedules. This day was impactful for students and volunteers alike.
Chase volunteers assisted in Young AmeriTowne as part of the Send-a-School initiative. Through CRA-eligible Send-a-School, Chase provides scholarship funds so that schools like Skyline Vista, a Westminister Public School where 86% of students receive free/reduced lunch, can participate in AmeriTowne or International Towne for a free or reduced cost. The goal is that every student in Colorado, regardless of background, can grow up knowing how to earn, make, and manage money wisely.
Volunteer Casey, who is an Officer at a Chase branch in Denver, guided students in the Newspaper Shop. Casey helped the student Editor, Accountant, Reporters, and Typists/Ad Agents prepare a real, four-page paper that covered the top news of the day, an impressive feat given that the group completed the entire paper in less than an hour.
This day was particularly memorable for Casey because he attended Young AmeriTowne himself as a child. As a fifth grader at Hopkins Elementary, a Littleton Public School, Casey didn’t have the kind of structure and support at home that many of his peers had. He credits AmeriTowne with providing life-lessons and experience that have helped him in his adult life. “I was always interested in business and entrepreneurship. Young AmeriTowne reinforced the idea that I could use these interests in a career,” said Casey. He added, “I learned more in Young AmeriTowne than from my personal finance class in high school.”
We don’t have a time machine to be able to follow Skyline Vista students into the future and see if they are financially stable and if they have made wise financial decisions. But, stories like Casey’s prove that hands-on financial education is valuable, particularly for at-risk students. When young people experience AmeriTowne, the lessons stick with them because the learning is both fun and meaningful. Thank you Casey, and your team of volunteers, for sharing your time with the next generation of young learners. You inspire a future of financially-literate citizens!