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Cities and towns are comprised of many different parts that work together to form a strong community. Young AmeriTowne participants in Belmar experience this concept first-hand, thanks to the long-time support of City of Lakewood, which is celebrating its 50thanniversary in 2019.
Young AmeriTowne, a hands-on lesson in free enterprise, began in 1990. By 2000, there was a 70-school wait list to participate—clearly a single Denver location was not enough. As a result, Young Americans Center for Financial Education worked with the City of Lakewood and other community partners to open Young AmeriTowne Belmar in early 2005. This new facility doubled the capacity of Young AmeriTowne. Today, more than 50% of Colorado 5thgraders experience this hands-on lesson in financial literacy every year. This percentage includes nearly 2,000 students from schools in Lakewood.
While in AmeriTowne, students learn that individuals, businesses, government, and nonprofits come together to create a strong community. Individuals rely on businesses to provide goods and services they need—medical care, news, banking services, snacks, and more. Likewise, businesses rely on individuals to provide labor and customers. The Mayor and Judge in Towne Hall provide management and oversite. Finally, individuals and businesses can donate to a Donation Station nonprofit to help further a cause.
Lakewood Mayor Adam Paul reinforces this learning in a video message that students watch at lunch. “Be bold and think about what you can do for your community,” challenges Mayor Paul. “Think about how you can get involved and make the place you live a better place.”