“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin
Both anecdotal and research-based evidence suggests that students learn best when they experience a concept for themselves. The Young AmeriTowne and International Towne programs do just that in the field of financial education. They allow elementary and middle school students to open their own bank account, use their own debit or credit card, and hold their own job. Today we’re recognizing a proud Young Americans Center for Financial Education partner who makes this type of learning possible for all types of learners, regardless of background: JJP Family Foundation.
Experiential learning, as defined by the Experiential Learning Center at University of Colorado Denver, is “a process through which students develop knowledge, skills, and values from direct experiences outside a traditional academic setting.” Wikipedia notes that the concept of learning through experience has been with us since ancient times, but that the idea gained new traction in the 1970s through work done by David Kolb. This type of learning extends outside the classroom and engages students at a more meaningful level.
Young Americans Center has found experiential learning to be particularly valuable in the field of financial education. An often dry and complex topic, finance comes to life in programs like Young AmeriTowne and International Towne. Teacher Stephanie Snitsalaar, whose students attended AmeriTowne On the Road in Durango wrote, “Ameritowne On the Road ignited an enthusiasm for real-life skills that my students hadn’t been exposed to within their regular classroom setting. Students were excited to challenge themselves, and scarcely realized they were learning. Applicable skills, including budgeting, marketing, communication, and handling stress, were experienced in a guided, entertaining experience.”
Thanks to support from JJP Family Foundation, deserving students can attend Young Americans Center programs for a reduced rate through Send-a-School. Last year, Send-a-School provided scholarships for 8,271 students attending Young AmeriTowne and International Towne educational programs. This is significant because research demonstrates that for low-income students, financial literacy “reduces the likelihood of being financially fragile by more than 6 percentage points…above and beyond the effects of educational achievement.”
The JJP Family Foundation was established by Jack and Judy Pottle, long-time supporters of Young Americans Center. Betsy Poell, Vice President of the Foundation notes, “We have many choices for organizations doing amazing things for less fortunate members of society, but our support of Young Americans Center for Financial Education stems from our belief that hands-on learning is truly the best way to learn. The children are having fun while gaining skills that will be invaluable to them as they grow up regardless of which career path they follow. The financial lessons and ‘money smarts’ gained at Young Americans last a lifetime.” Thank you JJP Family Foundation for your commitment to provide experiential learning opportunities for all students.